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Today (11 December 2017) we and Homes for Haringey have started to visit residents on the Broadwater Farm estate to explain safety measures that we are taking following a review into the blocks.
Homes for Haringey – which manages our housing stock – began investigations into the construction of the estate, which was built in the 1960s and early 1970s, based on national advice from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Reviews from structural engineers now suggest that some of the blocks do not meet the current required standards to use gas, and although the risk is very low, we are taking a number of precautionary steps to enable residents to stay in their homes.
The blocks we believe to be affected – which house both council tenants and some leaseholders – are Croydon, Hawkinge, Hornchurch, Lympne, Manston, Martlesham, Rochford, Debden and Stapleford. In total, around 1,400 people in 725 properties are affected.
The two tower blocks on the estate, Northolt and Kenley, do not have gas supplies and Tangmere is of a completely different construction to the low rise blocks. As a precaution, structural surveyors are also reviewing these blocks and we will have the results soon.
What happens next
There are 360 council properties with gas cookers and 115 leaseholder flats which may use them too. From Wednesday (Dec 13), Homes for Haringey will be visiting every property to work with tenants and leaseholders to arrange to cap off the gas supplies for gas cookers and replace them with electric cookers. The team will be working as quickly as possible. As a precaution, they will also be fitting interrupter valves to switch off the gas if a leak is detected and increasing the frequency of gas safety visits. A gas safety check will be carried out for free in each leased home. There are also plans to replace the gas system temporarily until permanent measures can be put in place.
In terms of permanent measures, Homes for Haringey are currently undertaking an option appraisal and options will include:
- The upgrade of each block to allow for all cooking, hot water and heating services to be electric
- The installation of a new district heating system on the estate, upgrading the existing plant and services which are already onsite and which already service the two tower blocks on the estate
- The retrospective strengthening of the blocks to allow for the continued use of gas within the estate
Once the option appraisal has been concluded, we and Homes for Haringey will engage with residents before a decision is made. Read the comment from Cllr Strickland here.
Steps we and Homes for Haringey have taken
- Carried out detailed structural surveys on flats in some of the blocks we believe to be affected. Based on advice from the structural engineers, it is very likely the construction was the same for the other low rise blocks on the estate too.
- Held a meeting with the residents’ association and are knocking on doors on the estate and distributing letters informing residents of the changes
- Set up a phone line for affected residents
- Set up a drop-in centre at the community centre
- Shared information with community representatives on the estate
- There is a large staff presence on hand to be available for discussion
- Arranged for contractors to start onsite from Wednesday to implement safety measures
- Confirmed that all tenanted properties on the estate have a valid gas safety certificate
- Briefed the police and fire brigade, who we will continue to work closely with
- Informed the local MP David Lammy
- Informed the DCLG and GLA
Following the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Department for Communities and Local Government raised concerns about blocks built using Large Panel Systems. As Broadwater Farm is a Large Panel System estate, Homes for Haringey asked structural engineers to carry out an assessment to ensure the blocks meet the required building regulations.
The structural engineers’ initial feedback is that the low rise blocks do not meet the industry standard required for them to have gas present in the blocks. In the unlikely event of a gas explosion, there is a risk that part of the building impacted by the explosion may become structurally unstable, causing disproportionate collapse.
We will now be exploring permanent options and would like to reassure residents that we and Homes for Haringey will continue to take any steps necessary to ensure residents’ wellbeing.
We understand that this will be an uncertain time for Broadwater Farm residents, but will keep you as informed as possible every step of the way. We are taking a number of steps to reduce any potential risk and residents’ safety will remain our number one priority.
Who to contact
There is a drop-in centre for affected residents at the community centre:
Monday 11 December 2017
Tuesday 12 December 2017
Wednesday 13 December 2017
Thursday 14 December 2017
Friday 15 December 2017
Saturday 16 December 2017
Affected residents can also call the dedicated Homes for Haringey line: 020 8489 7020. Homes for Haringey are also in the process of setting up a Freephone number: 0800 953 0221
If you smell gas
Call the 24-hr gas emergency number on 0800 111 999.
In the event of an emergency:
- Do not smoke or light matches
- Do not turn electrical switches on or off
- Open doors and windows
- Call the National Gas Emergency number (0800 111 999)
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