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.


  1. First of all let me say my heart goes out to the families in Grenfell Tower. It also goes out to those living in towers at the present and their uncertainty in their existing homes. I worked in housing for 17 years managing a number of towers throughout Waltham Forest and other boroughs. During my time in housing I witnessed a number of fires in towers but can tell you that on a whole they were all confined to the apartment albeit the damage I observed was devastating. Dry risers in these blocks are ideal for getting water to the effected floors quickly but the devastation caused by water flooding through the flats below is as disruptive as the fire itself to other residents. of course putting any fire out quickly is the most important issue, apartments can be refurbished lives cannot. The problem with bringing homes up to decent standard as directed by the government is that funding to local authorities has been reduced year on year for many years now and the local authorities do there best to meet the directives made by central government. Seems government want to have there cake and eat it, unfortunately left for a while the cake has to go stale.I read and hear on the news that some residents do not want to move out of their home and I have first hand knowledge with some of my ex residents that they love their homes. of course the local authority must make sure that these blocks are safe for occupation and at present this cannot be guaranteed. Albeit this position is disconcerting for residents, councils and government and local authority cannot re-house immediately. I would like to make some suggestions to allow all to get this situation safe for occupation.
    1. Supply fire extinguishers to each resident that wants to remain in their home, not just one at least three, two in the home and one outside the front door. I am sure there are local companies and offices that have overstocked extinguishers that they would offer.
    2. Provide oxygen cylinders for each remaining resident.
    3. Advise residents to turn on their taps so as to assist flooding the apartment and hopefully assisting to put any fire out.
    4. Exit direction lighting in the hallways and down the steps to direct residents out of the blocks.

    These are just my views and suggestion and are without prejudice.

  2. Sorry, to continue from previous blog,
    5. Allocate a Professional Fire Officer to be present daily in blocks of uncertainty until buildings deemed safe for occupation.


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