Shoddy Safety Measures


TOWER block tenants on Camden Council’s Chalcots estate in north London are angry at the ‘shoddy’ safety measures carried out since they were ordered to leave their homes at 24-hours notice following the Grenfell fire on 14th June.

The 3,000 tenants of the four tower blocks on the Chalcots estate in Swiss Cottage, which are clad in the same combustible material used at Grenfell Tower, were ordered to leave their homes for fire safety work, and are now being ordered to return.

Six weeks on the council says the urgent work has been done and signed off, but tenants say the work is shoddy and incomplete. One tenant showed a large gap at the bottom of his neighbour’s front door, saying: ‘I can get my entire hand under the front door and if your hand was a fire it’d be out in seconds’, instead of being kept in the flat.

Non-slip strips across each of the stairs on the fire escape are there so you can see the steps, but these strips are so worn you can barely see them even in daylight. ‘Imagine what they’d be like when the lights are off. They are clearly not fit for purpose,’ said the tenant.

Another tenant showed a mass of exposed electrical cables running out of her fuse box into a gaping hole in the ceiling and said the cables were covered by a council-contracted electrician using cardboard. A week ago the council told her re-boxing the cables properly was urgent safety work, but now she’s been told the work is superficial.

• Justice4Grenfell (J4G) stated on Wednesday: ‘Seven weeks after the apocalyptic fire at Grenfell Tower, the majority of survivors and evacuated residents remain without housing, despite all assurances to the contrary.

‘The official Grenfell Response newsletter of 1st August 2017 contains stark figures demonstrating the scale of the failure. “So far, 174 offers of accommodation have been made, 45 offers have been accepted and 12 households have been rehoused.”

‘These figures are testament to the continuing misery and suffering people are enduring, people who’ve had such horrific and damaging experiences that even with exemplary care and rapid re-housing, it will take many years to recover.’