Council skips fire risk assessments

De Beauvoir Estate tower blocks
De Beauvoir Estate tower block; photo credit: T J Zupancic

Two tower blocks from De Beauvoir Estate did not have up to date fire risk assessments in the wake of the Grenfell Tower Fire, despite the Mayor of Hackney claiming otherwise.

These surveys must be completed on an annual basis, yet the latest fire risk assessments carried out in September revealed that Lancresse and Granville Court had not been checked since 2015.

Mr Glanville has since apologised for providing this false information, and misleading the public over fire safety.

The surveys also found that all five tower blocks (Rozel Court, Lancresse Court, Granville Court, Corbierre House and Portelet House) have faulty emergency lighting systems with many LED lights not working. There was no evidence of regular emergency lighting tests being carried out.

Darren Martin, De Beauvoir resident and Hackney Liberal Democrat spokesperson, said: “Just as a snapshot of five tower blocks in one estate in Hackney, these risk assessments show why so many residents have been rightly concerned for their safety.”

“Emergency lighting would be crucial in getting people down those stairwells in the event of a fire evacuation, and the fact that all five tower blocks have faulty systems, and the risk assessors were unable to find any evidence that the proper legal periodic checks have been taking place, mean the council have some serious questions to answer.”

Mr Martin contacted De Beauvoir Labour Councillor James Peters last week about the lack of fire risk assessments and faulty emergency lighting. The email has been logged for a formal response.

In the meantime, Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville responded on Twitter: “All our emergency lighting is serviced at a minimum of every 12 months, and the five blocks in question were serviced in March 2017 and again in October 2017. At the October 2017 service some routine maintenance requirements were identified, including the replacement of some batteries, bulbs, lamps and gear trays.”

Mr Martin described the tweet as “the beginnings of an attempt to trivialise the issues and cover their backs.”

He added: “The whole point of these risk assessments being put online is so that residents can scrutinise the safety in their buildings and hold those in power to account, and I hope the council remember they are responding to resident’s concerns.”