CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

If Chalcots is safe, why are fire marshals posted on site?

20 October, 2017

Chalcots estate

I HAVE been getting one or two messages this week – one in the early hours – from worried tenants at the Taplow tower on the Chalcots estate evacuated in June by a frantic Camden Council leader Georgia Gould who had been warned the estate was a fire risk.

The families have drifted back but many are puzzled. What comes next, they ask?

They wonder: If the estate is now considered safe why do we have to have full-time “fire marshals” guarding the blocks?

A good question. It seems as if 11 marshals are allocated to each of the five blocks which they monitor day and night.

The wage bill must have run into about half-a-million pounds so far.

Moreover, tenants making a study of the botched workmanship of the privately financed refurbishment of 2006 want to know more about the plans to replace the plastic window frames – considered a fire risk – and instal new fire doors and smoke alarms.

At a recent packed meeting hard questions were asked by tenants.

In general, tenants are grateful by the speed at which the council acted to protect them but they fear officials may want to cover up the causes of the bad workmanship in the first place.

Which officials signed off the jobs carried out in 2006? An investigation should be a priority – but who is carrying it out? Officials appear to be silent.

Councillors, who do not appear to have discussed this critical question, appear to be indifferent.

This is the shadow over the Chalcots estate.

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