Thursday, 15 June 2017

Tower Block Disaster

The horrendous fire at Grenfell Tower is a huge shock and disaster for London to say nothing of the residents who have lost everything. So what lessons are there for Waltham Forest?

1.       Building Regulations appear to be wrong but all new buildings have to be checked to ensure they comply with the regulations. The Government needs to urgently find the cause and get the regulations sorted out. This is very worrying for Waltham Forest with so many new buildings going up.
2.       The council needs to ensure the building regulations are being applied and the Government needs to urgently check they are effective regulations.
       London Plan - this needs to be amended to stop forcing local authorities to build high rise tower blocks in Town Centres.

3.       Town Centre – the plans for a 29 storey tower block over the Mall shopping centre should be scrapped immediately. If it was built and a fire broke out there would not be enough space for the emergency services to operate. The railways would be affected and the Town Centre’s commerce would grind to a halt. This is not a price worth paying to house even more people in our congested Borough.

4.       Strettons’ plans for a 13 storey block at the gyratory junction of Hoe Street and St Mary Road should be scrapped. There would be no space for the emergency services and they would block key roads bringing Walthamstow to a halt.

5.       97 Lea Bridge Road – this scheme for 18 storey tower block should be stopped while a review is carried out of the design – are there 2 staircases and sprinklers in the blocks and what cladding is being used?

6.       Marlowe Road – the current building of 8 storey blocks at the base of the Northwood Tower should be stopped as they occupy the space needed by the emergency services if a fire developed in the tower block. Is the cladding, which improved the look of the building many years ago fire proof?

7.       John Walsh and Fred Wigg towers in Leyton should not be refurbished but demolished and decent low rise housing provided for residents. Grenfell Tower shows what could happen if these tower blocks are refurbished.

8.       Councillors need to take more notice of what new buildings are going on in their patch and shout loudly if they have concerns for the safety of the occupants of the buildings.

We all need to shout loud and clear that the murder of all these people in West London is unforgivable and was avoidable. Urgent action is needed to establish the facts and then change our building techniques so it can never happen again.

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