Grenfell Tower fire reaction
Commenting on Camden Council's latest reaction to the Grenfell Tower fire in west London, Cllr Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, said:
“Our thoughts remain with the victims of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower and we have offered our support to Kensington & Chelsea. In the immediate aftermath of the tragic fire at Grenfell, Camden's housing team initiated additional tower block inspections and a review of fire safety. We are ready to fully support any national investigation into materials, building standards and safety regulations. It’s vital for all of London’s residents who live in high-rise buildings, that we learn from investigations into what caused and exacerbated the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.
“Whilst the arrangement of the cladding and insulation used on Camden Council’s buildings differs* from that at Grenfell, and a fire in one of our clad buildings in 2012 was contained, it is still understandable that this week’s tragedy, and the speculation about its cause, has worried people in other high-rise buildings.
“We want to do as much as we can to reassure those residents, which is why we immediately initiated extra property inspections. These include checks of exterior cladding, and an overall review of the fire safety of our buildings. This is in addition to the ongoing programme of Fire Risk Assessments that all housing blocks on our estates are subject to.
"Camden Council believes in public housing and we invest in it. We are determined to continue to ensure that our existing housing and our new developments are not only safe, but of high quality. We believe that local authorities are best at delivering solutions at a local level and this is our message to the Government.
“We value our relationship with our residents and the Council has met with residents’ associations and written to residents who live in our tower blocks to let them know we are carrying out these checks. This engagement work will continue and we’ll do everything we can to keep concerned residents informed as our safety review progresses.
“The council also continues to work closely with our local MPs and key partners and with the London Fire Brigade to ensure that fire safety procedures continue to meet the latest advice and guidance for all properties. We stand ready to respond to any changes to fire safety advice following investigations into this tragic fire.”
*The design of the Camden cladding differs, using a vertically fixed panel system, rather than the horizontally fixed cassette system used at Grenfell.
Previous statement made by Cllr Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, on June 14:
“Our deepest sympathies go out to all those involved and affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, and particularly to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in this tragedy. London’s emergency services have done their utmost to tackle an incredibly challenging situation and I want to thank them for their dedicated and brave actions.
“We are on standby to provide support, such as temporary housing, to Kensington and Chelsea Council and are liaising with the Royal Free Hospital to ensure casualties have assistance in place when they are ready to leave hospital.
“Anyone who has concerns about friends or relatives at Grenfell Tower should contact the Police emergency telephone number on: 0800 0961 233.
“If you would like to donate clothes, blankets etc. to support the victims there is a collection at NW5 Project, The Hut, Islip St until 6pm today. The Kensington and Chelsea Foundation have also set up a 'Grenfell Tower Appeal' for donations at www.thekandcfoundation.com/donate."
Simon Tuhill, Camden Borough Commander at London Fire Brigade: “The London Fire Brigade have been responding to the major fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington.
“I want to reassure Camden residents that we remain on standby to keep them safe. In the event of a fire, please ring 999 as normal – we are here and ready to respond.”
Cllr Gould added:
“Camden Council has robust fire policies and procedures in place for our properties. Our Housing and Property Officers work closely with the London Fire Brigade and our partners to ensure they reflect the latest fire safety guidance."
On Wednesday (14th) afternoon, the Leader and Councillor Pat Callaghan, Cabinet Member for Housing wrote to Camden District Management Committees and Tenant and Resident Associations to confirm additional fire safety checks will be made on council housing blocks. Read the full letter.