Hackney mum calls for second-floor window to be replaced before ‘something terrible’ happens

PUBLISHED: 15:35 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:55 16 September 2020

One day, the window pane fell out. Picture: Rebecca O’Brien

One day, the window pane fell out. Picture: Rebecca O’Brien


A Hackney mum is worried “something terrible” will happen to her children while she waits for a window frame in her flat to be filled.

The window pane fell out in May. Picture: Rebecca O’BrienThe window pane fell out in May. Picture: Rebecca O’Brien

When Rebecca O’Brien moved into her Haggerston flat in August 2019 with and her now one- and three-year-old daughters, she noticed a large second-floor window was “hanging off”.

All of the windows in the block were replaced by Hackney Council as part of investment into council homes - except Rebecca’s, due to access issues of previous tenants.

Rebecca said the family suffered “terrible coughs and colds” from drafts throughout last winter, and in May this year the whole window pane fell out.

She said: “I feel that me and my children are in danger in this flat. This whole flat is a hazard and I’m waiting for something terrible to happen for anyone to take this seriously.”

Rebecca's second-floor flat windows - with the top left missing. Picture: Rebecca O’BrienRebecca's second-floor flat windows - with the top left missing. Picture: Rebecca O’Brien

When a repair workman came and got access to the window, Rebecca said, he taped hardwood over the hole.

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This comes following two recent fatal incidents involving children falling from high-rise blocks - a toddler in Shoreditch died on August 14 and a 13-year-old in Wembley Park died on September 7.

Rebecca told this newspaper: “How can you make me live like this? I feel unsafe and it is not right.”

She suffers with sciatica pain in her leg, which is caused by nerve compression in her back.

“I am in pain at the moment and I don’t need this stress - during lockdown as well,” she added.

“I am on the second floor with two under five-year-olds, and because of my leg I couldn’t run if I was in the other room and something happened. They have made me worry so much.”

Heating costs also rose to “untold” amounts during the winter, she added, because of the draft.

A council spokesperson said: “All the homes (in Rebecca’s block) have recently had brand new windows installed as part of a package of investment in the building, but unfortunately this has yet to take place for this property as we failed to get access for work to take place while the contractors were on site.

“We have now made arrangements for this resident to have new windows installed in the next four weeks, and have made safe the current windows in the interim.”

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