Editor’s comment: Hackney Council had better be sure about Bridport House
PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 August 2018
The council has been emphatic: there is nothing structurally wrong with Bridport House.
And we don’t want to alarm people living there, so I’m going to say something controversial: I believe it. I believe, confronted with the photo evidence and the string of problems endured by tenants since 2011, you’d have to be pretty bloody sure of yourself to stand in the town hall and say: don’t worry, everything’s OK.
Unfortunately, something of a leap of faith is required here, because Hackney wouldn’t share the results of the building tests with us, except to say an area was examined at some point in the past, and it was concluded that only the brickwork was faulty.
How the council can be sure of that – what the significance of those tests was to the current problem, what the tests actually did and found, and how far into the building’s foundations workers probed – is anyone’s guess, because it wouldn’t tell us.
The dreadful spectre of Grenfell Tower loomed large over Notting Hill Carnival at the weekend, both physically and figuratively.
Lest we forget, the people living in that doomed building knew there was something wrong. An extremely articulate residents’ association had gone so far as to blog in detail about the safety problems with the building. The council ignored it.
I say this not to frighten those in Bridport House, but rather to say: Hackney Council remembers Grenfell. It knows brushing off residents’ concerns will not wash. It knows it is being watched – by us, more so than Kensington and Chelsea was by any local press, and by the people who live there. And, dare I say it, I believe Hackney cares more about its residents than that council does (or did, until the words “corporate manslaughter” were first heard in W8). So yes, I trust Hackney not to be making this up. History doesn’t forget these things.