Why Us? Why Now?

Why us? Sam Webb, Liz Lowe and I have been involved in tower block issues dating back over many years. Liz and I have been tower block tenants in the 70s. I was a community worker, at Community Links, working on local and national tower block issues from the 70s to the 90s. Sam, an architect, became an expert in large panel system blocks in 1968 when Ronan Point partially collapsed. We met Sam at the demolition of Stratford and Newtown blocks and he has since worked continuously and tirelessly to raise high rise safety concerns and to support tenants groups to be heard. Sam and Liz, who was a social worker at the time, and I worked with tenants in the Newham Tower Block Tenants Campaign to d

London Assembly Housing Committee Investigation

London Assembly Housing Committee investigation into tenant involvement in governance of social housing (post-Grenfell) In the past there was general agreement that good management and maintenance of our homes depended on having active locally-based tenant associations with good local contacts and knowledge. With a responsibility to negotiate with landlord officials on behalf of others, tenant representatives could raise problems early and work with others to ensure that money spent on resolving problems locally, borough- or landlord-wide, was well spent. Over a number of years this more democratic and accountable approach has increasingly shifted toward landlord selection of tenants to ser

Ronnie King on sprinklers

Ronnie King is Honorary Administrative Secretary for the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group (APPFSRG). He has long been a strong advocate of the benefits of automatic fire suppression as a means of saving lives, (including firefighters’ lives), and reducing damage to property from fire. He is a former Vice Chairman of the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN), and a member of the Fire Sector Federation’s Executive Committee. Prior to this, Ronnie served for 41 years in the Fire & Rescue Service in West Yorkshire, London, Scotland, Wales and HM Fire Service Inspectorate, twenty years of which was as a Chief Fire Officer in Mid & West Wales. He has devoted a lifetime to

Closing The Gaps

In September 2017, following the Grenfell fire tragedy, Shelter commissioned me and Dr Kirton-Darling from Kent Law School and Professor Dave Cowan and Ed Burtonshaw-Gunn both of Bristol University Law School to review and report on the state of the law relating to disrepair and health and safety in the home. We talked to a lot of people as part of our research, including tenants, leaseholders, environmental health officers, lawyers and surveyors. It was clear there was a lot of dissatisfaction with the law. It did not prioritise the interests of the occupiers of homes, and provided them with very limited means to force landlords to ensure that their homes were safe and free from disrepai

London Borough of Newham response to the Grenfell Fire

Since the Grenfell Tower fire last year, we have been doing all we can to ensure all tenants and leaseholders living across our housing stock are protected in the unlikely event of a fire. The project is extensive and covers council-owned blocks. However, the initial focus of this work has been on the three Newham Council tower blocks with Aluminium Composite Material cladding. This is the cladding which was on Grenfell Tower. Samples sent through from these blocks failed Government tests last year and we have been working hard to ensure it is removed as soon as possible. Following a robust and timely procurement process, work has now started to remove the cladding with regeneration experts

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