Council tells home-owners to take down iron grilles put up for safety reasons

Bradley Robeiro, 29, stands next to the gates that are set to be removed

Bradley Robeiro, 29, stands next to the gates that are set to be removed - Credit: Archant

A family say they are fearing for their future safety after the council told them to remove iron grills and a gate in front of their property.

Theresa Piper, who lives with her son in Ballance Road, Homerton, installed the security feature following a burglary 20 years ago.

But Hackney Council claims it is a fire risk and insists it must be removed and replaced with a new door.

The 55-year-old leaseholder said: “I put up my gate as Ballance Road is not a safe area to live in. My front door is not secure enough.

“Another 20 households also have an iron gate to protect themselves.

“Following a gas explosion in a neighbouring flat, where a woman locked her gate and forgot where she put the key, the council said they are a fire hazard.

“In a meeting several months ago, the council said they planned to take our fences down by January 20 and would give us a girded door when they take the fences down.

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“However, they have now said that I would have to pay for mine as I am a leaseholder and not a tenant. Such a door would cost £1,000.

“The estate manager said that I did not purchase the porch-well where my gate is, even though by bedroom and bathroom overhang the porch.

“It seems the estate manager is on a mission and to have these gates down, with no consideration what effect this has on the householders’ personal belongings. People in Ballance Road are very upset and scared of the outcome.”

Her son Bradley Ribeiro-Piper, 29, an engineer, said: “Whenever I’m not there, she gets scared because Hackney is not the safest place. We’re worried about break-ins.

“It gives us peace of mind to have the gates there. We originally put them up because of a break-in.

“I’ve never thought of it being a fire hazard because our keys are hung up next to the doors. The first floor windows are not that high to jump from.

“I think the council is using it as an excuse because it doesn’t look nice when you walk or drive past it.

“They probably want the area to look nicer.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “As part of the ongoing assessment of fire risk carried out by Hackney Homes, we have identified that some metal gates fixed to certain front doors in Ballance Road pose a serious fire risk.

“Therefore Hackney Homes is asking residents to remove these gates.

“If residents do not remove the gates voluntarily, we will remove them ourselves.

“This action is taken to ensure that Hackney Homes complies with its legislative obligations for the safety of all residents in a particular area or block.”