Westminster Labour Councillors, particularly Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing Tim Roca and Westbourne ward Councillors Adam Hug (Labour Group Leader), David Boothroyd and Papya Qureshi have been working with Karen Buck MP to continue to try to get answers to the vital issues around fire safety in Westminster´s Tower Blocks and other council housing.
While the Council and CityWest Homes have been working to try and respond to the issue, particularly in relation to the Little Venice Towers on the Warwick and Brindley Estates there are a number of areas where further information and action is still needed.
- Requests that the costs of the proposed sprinkler installation option and of the range of different cladding removal options are made clear to residents to improve transparency. The council must show that cost is not a factor in its decision making over what actions will make residents most safe and limit unnecessary disruption to their lives. Guarantees must also be in place to ensure leaseholders do not face bills for this necessary work to urgently make the blocks safe.
- Calls for greater measures to ensure that council information letters are received by every household and for residents to be given the option of face to face discussions within their homes. This information should also be more readily available in other languages to reflect the resident population, particularly in Arabic, Portugese, Bengali, Kurdish and Albanian.
- Asks for residents to be provided with more detailed information about the findings of the London Fire Brigade and CityWest Homes audits of blocks, particularly at Little Venice, and about the remedial action being taken. This includes providing necessary information about the check on firedoors that has been taking place.
- Calls for residents in the Little Venice Towers to be given the final say on whether the cladding is partially or full removed. While the Council´s current proposed solution of a partial removal of cladding to improve fire breaks may improve safety (in light of what the Council have said regarding information from the London Fire Brigade) while limiting the disruption to residents, understandably many residents do not yet feel reassured.
- Asks that CityWest retains a permanent staff presence in the Little Venice Estate Office until the situation has been fully resolved in the months ahead.
- Requests greater support to those living in the towers who feel at risk and asks the Council to develop additional mechanisms to facilitate requests by residents to be moved into temporary accommodation or permanent transfers, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable.