IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Islington’s thoughtless, kneejerk reaction to horrific Grenfell blaze

02 February, 2018

• DOES your communal hall now look sterile and miserable? Have you been told to clear away everything – and “we mean everything” – or have it immediately removed for disposal?

No floor mats (just come in from the rain and tramp it upstairs); no pictures on the walls (in case they distract firefighters?); no shelf to leave the post on; no cycle, no shopping trolley, no disability wheelchair, even if these are stored out of the way under the stairs.

And, of course, some of us are, annoyingly, elderly or infirm or with disabilities which make it impossible for us to carry heavy items up and down the stairs. All this is the council’s ill-considered, thoughtless knee-jerk reaction to the horrific Grenfell fire.

Of course, we must guard against anything similar, but the job is contracted to Partners, and Partners subcontract it to another firm. This firm decides to issue the new regulations in the most punitive way, during the Christmas/New Year holiday, with absolutely no consultation, accompanied by threats to remove and dispose of any and every item in the communal hall (which they carry out, and bad luck if you’re away and hadn’t seen the warning).

Sensible fire precautions, good. Stupid and punitive ones, bad. In the event of a fire, why would we want to rush between the front and back of the house? Straight down the stairs and out of the front door would be logical.

Behind this flurry of bureaucratic bullying, the real issue is that dangerously invisible. Victorian street properties have one escape route from fire: the stairs. If fire spreads to the stairs, those living on upper floors will be trapped.

We have raised this with the council and received no response, although it is a very real danger which will not be helped by removing pictures and floor mats from the hall and imposing thoughtless restrictions on us and our neighbours.

ED FREDENBURGH
Milner Square, N1

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