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LBWF and fire safety in its housing stock: Goddarts House sheltered housing in Walthamstow, a new low which shames the council

Following on from recent discussion of fire hazards in LBWF housing provision, this post presents a further case study, which is certainly the most disturbing yet. Goddarts House in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, is sheltered accommodation and consists of 27 flats, with the ‘occupancy types’ officially described as ‘Elderly, Hearing Impairment, Mental Health, Sight Impairment, [and] Wheelchair Users’. Unsurprising, as the body legally responsible for Goddarts, LBWF has always classed the property as ‘high risk’, which means it ‘must’ be fire risk assessed at least once a year. Given these circumstances, many people will probably assume that fire safety at Goddarts is and always has been exemplary.... »

LBWF and customer service: ‘I wouldn’t even give this council 1 star’ UPDATED

LBWF likes to project itself as a ‘forward-thinking’ and ‘innovative’ council, listening to the preoccupations of its residents in order to deliver ‘high-quality public services’, and thus improve everyone’s lives. But as this blog periodically points out, projected image and hard reality are often two very different things. A further depressing example of such divergence is the way that LBWF handles customer service. For though the oft repeated official mantra promises openness and responsiveness, many of those who rub up against the Town Hall at close quarters find that these are exactly the qualities which seem to be most lacking. Phones and e-mails are rarely answered, documents ‘l... »

LBWF and fire hazards in its housing stock: the appalling case of Northwood Tower in Walthamstow (3)

Lest there is anybody out there who still thinks that LBWF’s handling of fire risks at Northwood Tower has been commensurate with its boast that ‘The safety of our residents is always our top priority [emphasis added]’, reproduced below are the overall Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) provided by the assessor Ridge and Partners LLP from 2014 to 2018. Nobody, of course, would want to live in a property where there was ‘significant potential for serious injury or death’ and ‘improvements should be undertaken urgently’ (as in 2017 and 2018), but most people would baulk, too, at the prospect of living in a property where ‘essential action must be made ... »

LBWF and fire hazards in its housing stock: the appalling case of Northwood Tower in Walthamstow (2)

In response to ‘[s]everal recent articles in local newspapers’ about Northwood Tower, LBWF has just issued a PR release which predictably claims that the latter contain unspecified ‘misunderstandings and inaccuracies’ and seeks to reassure ‘residents and the wider community’ that the building is ‘safe and secure’. No doubt local newspapers can respond for themselves, but as far as this blog is concerned, the PR release does not challenge any of the facts already posted. LBWF admits that the 2018-19 Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) of Northwood Tower did indeed identify 65 necessary remedial actions, and adds the wholly new (and as yet unverified) inf... »

LBWF and fire hazards in its housing stock: the appalling case of Northwood Tower in Walthamstow (1)

In the past few months, journalists James Cracknell and Michelle Edwards of the Waltham Forest Echo have done sterling work in exposing the serious safety flaws that currently blight many of the 22 tower blocks in the borough, see here https://walthamforestecho.co.uk/fire-safety-flaws-at-borough-tower-blocks/ here https://walthamforestecho.co.uk/tower-residents-fire-safety-fears/ and here https://walthamforestecho.co.uk/returning-to-northwood-tower/ What follows examines one of the tower blocks in detail, documents the dreadful situation that pertained there as of mid-2018, and reveals that many of the flaws then existent also had been clearly identified several times previously, indeed incl... »

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