Cladding removed from Brixton’s Barrier Block

Local MP Helen Hayes and councillor Donatus Anyanwu with workers removing Barrier Block cladding
Local MP Helen Hayes and councillor Donatus Anyanwu with workers removing Barrier Block cladding last weekend

Cladding in stairwells at Brixton’s Barrier Block – Southwyck House – has been removed and the gas supply to Brittany Point in Kennington has been turned off after advice to Lambeth council from London Fire Brigade.

The council said electric ovens are being provided to any Brittany Point residents who used gas ovens and 24-hour patrols are in operation.

Lambeth council owns 122 residential blocks over six storeys high. Of these, 31 have some form of cladding. Consultants are taking samples for testing from all of them.

A report for the council’s cabinet says that there is a 100% failure rate for all types of cladding – and not just the type used on Grenfell Tower – submitted by local authority and housing association landlords for official testing.

There are more than 65 housing associations with about 23,000 tenants in Lambeth. These homes are also being checked for cladding which is being tested.

Park Heights
Park Heights

Network Housing has already announced that cladding will be removed from its Park Heights tower.

The council said that all of its housing blocks have up-to-date fire risk assessments (FRAs), but said work is starting immediately on additional “level 4” FRAs – the most stringent level of assessment.

The council said “it will need to learn lessons” and review its emergency response plans.

“Work is already under way to ensure local and service-based out-of-hours and incident response arrangements are in place and properly integrated across all key services,” it said.

“Officers have produced draft plans for any emergency evacuation of our housing stock should this be necessary.

“This includes extensive updated information and contact details of residents in all our medium and high-rise blocks, with household size and any special needs noted, as well as arrangements for rest centres, assessment centres, emergency housing and provision of food and bedding etc.”

The report says Lambeth council has been involved in providing emergency assistance since the London Local Authority Control Centre was activated on 15 June after the Grenfell Tower fire.

It has provided staff and resources to help with the response, including emergency planning staff, and adult children’s services social workers. The council’s assistant director for housing needs spent four days in West London coordinating housing assessments for Grenfell victims. General needs and specialist housing has also been offered.

Of its 122 structures with six storeys or more, Lambeth council has two blocks of 24 storeys; four of 22; four of 21; one of 19; two of 18; and three of 15.

Full report