Following the recent devastating Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington, I wanted to write to you about the situation in Streatham and what is being done in response.
First, Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council, has been in contact with the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council to offer any practical support that she and the council can. Hundreds of people are without homes and have nothing except the clothes they fled in. As Londoners we always come together at times of great tragedy to support those effected and bring our communities together – we must do so again now.
Second, I know you will be very concerned about the state of housing blocks in our community, and several of you have already contacted me seeking clarification and reassurance. I have been informed that Lambeth officials have confirmed that all Lambeth Housing structures have an up to date fire risk assessment. Any issues that have been highlighted as a result of these assessments are being followed up and housing blocks are being prioritised. Lambeth Council Director of Housing Services, Neil Wightman, has been working with Lambeth Council’s Health and Safety Team to review all the information from the Grenfell Tower fire, and plan any necessary action which may be needed in Lambeth. These further actions will include:
- Reviewing blocks which have similar designs to Grenfell Tower
- Writing to all residents in housing blocks
- Meeting with London Fire Brigade to discuss evacuation procedures and ensure notices in blocks are renewed or updated where required.
As your Member of Parliament I have also written to Lambeth Council and Metropolitan Housing seeking further clarification on several vital issues relating to housing blocks in Streatham and the parts Clapham, Balham, Tulse Hill and Brixton in the constituency, including:
- Whether there are any housing blocks clad with the same, or other, flammable materials.
- If this information is not yet available, when they will be carrying out the necessary checks.
- Details of the usual fire tests carried out on properties.
- Details of these tests and when they were last completed.
- Whether there are fire sprinkler systems fitted in housing blocks.
- If fire sprinkler systems are not fitted, whether assessments being carried out to check whether they are needed and are steps are being taken to fit them.
Finally, I am sure I speak on behalf of everyone in our community when I say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service, and the Metropolitan Police Service for their fast response and heroic work to tackle the fire and provide support to the victims since.
There is understandably huge public concern following this tragic incident. I am working to do all I can to make sure that a similar tragedy cannot happen here in our community.
If you have any other questions or concerns please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Chuka Umunna MP
Labour Member of Parliament for Streatham
Covering Streatham and parts of Clapham, Balham, Tulse Hill and Brixton