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Ledbury Estate, London, United Kingdom

Friday 11 Aug 2017

London tower residents evacuated

Ledbury Estate by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom
Ledbury Estate 
Ledbury Estate by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom
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Residents are to be evacuated from four tower blocks in London following safety fears 

Residents of the Ledbury estate in south-east London have been told they will have to move out after structural problems were found.

According to  the BBC a survey, ordered in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, found cracks in the walls leaving it vulnerable to "collapse" if a gas explosion occurred.

In a development with implications for blocks elsewhere in the UK, residents of the Ledbury estate said they were shocked and alarmed to learn that the four 13-storey blocks were at risk of collapse in the event of a gas explosion in one of the flats.

One resident said she was appalled to learn she had been “living for years in a death trap”. “I cannot describe my level of anger at Southwark council,” she said. “Not only is the gas supply illegal, but the structure of the building is potentially unsafe. It’s a miracle no one was killed over this time.”

Southwark Council said it was doing "all it could" to help residents. Gas supplies have been turned off and residents offered temporary hotplates to cook meals. Southwark Council has written to residents of the estate near the Old Kent Road saying officials have arranged for them to use the shower facilities at any of the leisure centres in the borough if they provide proof of address.

Cllr Stephanie Cryan, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, said: "At every stage of this investigation, we have put residents' safety first, and acted on the best information available.

"We are doing all we can to provide residents with alternatives while the gas is turned off, and are working up a plan to permanently replace the gas with electric ovens, boilers etc. as part of the wider works, should that be necessary."

The blocks' gas supply was installed when they were built between 1968-1970. Soon after a gas explosion at the similarly constructed Ronan Point block killed four people.

The council confirmed that "strengthening works" - carried out on estates under government order across the UK in the wake of Ronan Point - may never have happened on the Ledbury.

Since 19 July the council has been offering £5,800 to move tenants to new flats by placing them at the head of the housing waiting list.

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