Bridport House: Troubled block on Hoxton’s Colville Estate to be evacuated over fire risk fears and catalogue of defects
- Credit: Emma Bartholomew
Dozens of council tenants learnt tonight they would be forced out of their Hoxton homes for three years because of “potentially combustible insulation”.
The 41 families in the Colville Estate's award-winning Bridport House will be offered another temporary or permanent home in the borough while the work is carried out.
Hackney Council this week confirmed it would be taking legal action against Willmott Partnership Homes, the contractor that built the block.
Bridport House opened to fanfare in 2011 because it was the first council housing built in Hackney for four decades. But it has been riddled with problems ever since.
Tenants feared the building was "falling apart at the seams" and have complained about falling roof tiles, bricks crumbling, and flooding. In February, part of a second-storey balcony fell off and "could have killed" someone had they been on the floor below where it landed.
Last year tenant Michael Jones told us: "They are lovely flats, badly put up, and we have had seven years of hell in here."
Earlier this year engineers repairing brickwork noticed defects in the cavity wall insulation. Fire wardens were posted to the block 24/7 and the "stay put" fire policy was switched in favour of evacuation.
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Now investigations have revealed a host of other serious defects, including missing barriers to stop the spread of fire, flawed brickwork, balconies and windows.
London Fire Brigade says due to the council's action in April, the risk is at an acceptable level. But the town hall has decided it would be dangerous and disruptive for tenants to stay while repairs are carried out.
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Work will include removing all the brickwork and balconies. The council's cabinet will make a decision on the future of the building next month.
Tenants were told the news at a meeting with mayor Phil Glanville last night (Wed).
The mayor said it was not an easy decision but leaving the building occupied would create an "unacceptable risk".
He said: "We are sorry for the failures in the construction and for the huge disruption residents continue to face.
"We will do everything we can to ensure this process is as smooth as possible, with a dedicated team and independent advice to support tenants into the best homes we have available and compensation that recognises the immense upheaval.
"We will be taking legal action to hold those responsible for these failures to account. We also should have done a better job."
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