WHO WE ARE
Founded in the 1980s as the National Tower Blocks Network, we regrouped in 2017 as Tower Blocks UK - a hub for sharing information and resources with groups and individuals who live in, or are concerned about tower block housing safety issues in the UK.
Our aims are to:
Support tenants and residents to be heard by providing more opportunities to exert pressure on decision-makers to prevent continued inadequate action and ongoing risk.
Extend the services that we provide to include online training resources, pro-forma systems for implementing housing rights and open fire safety and structural data.
Share examples of good practice in tackling tower block safety problems, from tenants and residents and landlords.
There needs to be;
A systematic review of all Large Panel System blocks
Serious improvements to the Building Regulations
The introduction of procedures to enable tenants and residents to implement the Building Regulations when they have concerns
The installation of sprinklers in all tall blocks
The removal of dangerous cladding
Money from government to make these changes possible.
What do you think, what else needs to be done? Tell us, complete our contact form and read our News blog here.
Follow us on twitter @TowerBlocksUK
We are adding to the website all the time so please keep in touch especially with our News blog and Large Panel Systems where you can watch the BBC Newsnight Programme "Ronan Point-a 50 year building safety problem" and current video updates about this significant issue including a new one about the campaign on Broadwater Farm estate.
Tower Blocks UK is being led by Frances Clarke, Liz Lowe and Sam Webb MBE. We are being supported by two partner organisations - Shift and MySociety - which bring their experience on research, design and development
SAm webb MBE
Sam Webb MBE has supported tenants for over 40 years. He has been a nationally elected member of both the RIBA Council and the Architectural Association Council and serves on the RIBA Professional Conduct Committee. He is Technical Advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group and a member of the President of the RIBA's Expert Advisory Group investigating the Grenfell Tower Fire. He has published many articles, been quoted in many books and taken part in Radio & TV programmes. Sam’s support for tower block safety includes:
Acting as an Expert Witness advising the families of the three young women and children who died in the Lakanal House Fire 3 July 2009 in Camberwell.
In the 80s and 90s he advised tenants in Newham living in the rebuilt Ronan Point and its 8 sister blocks on the Freemasons Estate highlighting the unresolved structural faults which led to their demolition.
Along with Frances Clarke and Community Links he founded the National Tower Blocks Network in the 1980s and advised tenants on issues such as, fire safety in high-rise buildings. In their 1990 report they warned the Home Office of a major fire in a tower block of Kings Cross proportions.
Sam was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours 2021 for his services to architecture and 50 year of championing safety of high rise buildings.
Frances Clarke has been an active community worker and campaigner for 40 years in a range of settings, from promoting the early diagnosis of cancer to managing welfare rights advice services. She has always sought to promote the voices of the unheard. Whilst at Community Links, her tower blocks work included :
Working with residents in the Freemason’s estate in the London Borough of Newham in 1980s and 90s addressing many issues including safety concerns and increasing the profile of this issue at a national level.
Working with the Dept for Environment, Shelter and the Gulbenkian Foundation to set-up and manage the National Tower Blocks Network.
Frances undertook a fire safety survey with Sam Webb in 1992 which revealed serious concerns nationally.
Shift is a social design organisation that creates products and services to help solve social problems. Shift has a distinct design approach that brings together expertise in research, innovation and social entrepreneurship to create solutions that can deliver profound, measurable impact, be highly valued by their users and financially sustainable and scalable. Shift’s portfolio of projects includes the mental health tech venture BfB Labs, the community cohesion CIC Historypin and a major design partnership with the National Citizen Service .
mySociety is a not-for-profit social enterprise which builds online technologies that give people the power to get things changed and share these technologies so that they can be used anywhere.
mySociety works with online technologies in three connected areas of civic life:
i) Democracy tools that make parliaments more transparent and accountable
ii) Freedom of Information platform that holds governments to account
iii) Better Cities technology that helps local authorities and empowers their citizens.
For many years Liz Lowe has worked within communities and as a senior professional in Local & Central Government and the Health Service.
As a social care team leader she promoted community initiatives in Canning Town such as a food co-op, Asian Women's Group, after school clubs and play schemes and worked alongside the Newham Tower Blocks Tenants Campaign to highlight risks in local blocks.
When the nine Newham tower blocks were demolished she led the Borough programme to rebuild the locality and community - engaging and consulting with tenants about plans for and resources needed in the area.
Within the Department of Health and regional development agencies she has worked to develop quality standards and integration of public services nationally and pan London.