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London council ‘negligent and in denial’ over tower blocks at risk of collapse

Two tower blocks in North London are at risk of collapse, with the area’s council announcing it wants to begin re-housing residents “immediately.”

The Tangmere and Northolt blocks as part of the Broadwater Farm estate in Haringey, Tottenham, will be evacuated by Haringey Borough Council after checks carried out showed blocks could fall if there was a major explosion or vehicle impact in the high-rises.

The Guardian revealed on Wednesday that the council wants to demolish the two blocks on the estate after safety checks declared residents were in danger. Nine other buildings on the 12-block estate also failed minor tests and the council has begun work to improve safety precautions.

The checks come after councils are assessing safety risks in tower blocks across the UK following the Grenfell Tower disaster last year.

Sam Webb, an architect and expert in the estate's system, told the Guardian that it was negligent of Haringey council for not noticing the problem sooner. “Everyone, including the government, has been in denial," he added. 

Broadwater Farm estate was built in the 1970s using the large panel system (LPS) construction method. Ronan Point, in Newham, partially collapsed in 1968 following a gas explosion in the tower block.

Gas supplier Cadent will switch off gas for the whole estate by the end of October this year to limit the safety risks. Tangmere residents will be forced to evacuate by the end of October. Despite the Northolt block having no piped gas supply, residents will start to be evacuated next year, with no deadline for re-housing given.

Jacob Secker of the Broadwater Farm residents’ association on Thursday said the council were “treating residents of these two blocks in a callous and incompetent manner” and as if they were “second class citizens,” the Guardian reported.

A cabinet meeting will commence on 26 June will assess how to progress with the re-housing of Tangmere residents.

Cabinet member for housing and estate renewal said:"We understand that residents on Broadwater Farm – particularly those in Tangmere and Northolt blocks – will have questions and concerns.

“We are committed to providing a safe, decent and affordable home for everyone and I want to assure all affected residents that we will carefully consider all of the issues, and that any decision we take will be with primary consideration for the safety, aspirations and rights of our tenants.” 

Cllr Ibrahim added that residents are the council's "absolute priority" and a decision on the long-term future of the blocks wil only be taken following proper consultation with residents.

Top image: Yui Mok via PA Archive/PA Images


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