Why Us? Why Now?

March 30, 2018

 

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 draw attention to the social and structural issues in the borough’s 114 blocks. The most significant campaign in those years was about structural and fire safety in the rebuilt Ronan Point and its eight 22-storey sister blocks on the aptly named Freemasons Estate. You will read on this website how that campaign was run and what was achieved – in response to tenant pressure Ronan Point was handed to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to be tested, it was found to be structurally unsound, it could once again collapse and it was found to be in breach of fire safety regulations, a fire could spread from flat to flat (See BRE report on Large Panel Systems).  All nine blocks had to be demolished and instructions were issued to local authorities to check their large panel system blocks and deal with the defects.  It seemed then that we had made blocks safer nationally.