A fire assessment paid for by the residents at Carlton Mansions has found the risk in the building ‘tolerable’, putting them in a stronger position as they argue their case against eviction by the council.
The report, done by a private company and paid for by the Carlton Mansions Housing Co-operative, states under ‘risk level’ that “accordingly, it is considered that the risk to life from fire at these premises is Tolerable.”
A fire risk assessment carried out by the council last month advised the building was unsafe and as a result members of the Carlton Mansions Housing Co-operative, founded in 1979, were told to leave the 122-year-old building immediately. The council demanded “residents vacate the building as a priority”, with councillors referring to the risk as ‘intolerable’.
The Co-operative reportedly told the council the results of its own fire report in a meeting on Friday with councillors and council officers. Carlton Mansions residents claim the council stated that they would still be pursuing court action to evict them.
At the meeting, the Co-operative also informed the council of the “great distress” a court action to bring an injunction against the Co-op last week had caused its members. A Co-op representative said: “A Labour Council should not use an injunction against its residents in this way on residents who reside peaceably in their homes. It is a draconian use of an injunction that the Judge on the day rightly in the Co-op’s view refused to hear.”
Last week, before the results of the Co-op’s risk assessment, a council spokesman told the Brixton Blog: “Following a fire safety assessment and the significant health and safety risk identified, we need to vacate the building as soon as possible. A possession order and injunction is the appropriate legal mechanism for this situation. We have offered re-housing to all the occupiers on a temporary basis and will then assess their eligibility for a permanent home.”
A possession order hearing, where the judge will decide whether or not the council can evict the co-operative, has now been brought forward to be heard by a judge on May 22. An injunction application will also be heard on the same day.