Hackney has the second largest number of unsafe buildings in London, figures show
- Credit: Charissa Cheong
Hackney is one of the most affected boroughs by buildings fire safety failings in London, this month’s data from the London Fire Brigade shows.
The brigade would classify 93 buildings in Hackney as high risk, a larger figure than in all other London boroughs except for Tower Hamlets, which has 171 unsafe buildings.
On Wednesday (October 27), the chancellor announced a £5bn grant to remove unsafe cladding from buildings in the autumn budget, funded by residential property developers.
Together, Hackney and Tower Hamlets account for almost a quarter of the 1,107 buildings with fire safety failures in London.
These buildings are subject to simultaneous evacuation, meaning that residents will be asked to leave the building rather than stay put in the event of a fire.
Some are also considered so high risk that they may require a waking watch, where suitably trained persons patrol the building so they can raise the alarm if a fire breaks out and carry out evacuations.
Most unsafe buildings in Hackney are high-rise blocks above 18 metres, at 72 buildings. The situation is similar across each of the top five boroughs impacted by the building safety crisis.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said that while the chancellor’s grant was welcomed, the extent of the issue extends far beyond cladding, as only 807 of the 1,107 unsafe buildings in London are subject to cladding issues.
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They said: “Those responsible for residential buildings have a legal obligation and we will continue to work with them and with government to identify and address risks and keep Londoners safe.”
Hackney Council’s Cllr Sem Moema, mayoral adviser for Private Renting and Housing Affordability, said: “The autumn budget provided no new funding to address the cladding scandal, with the government’s commitments so far only covering a third of the estimated £15 billion cost – showing that ministers have still not grasped the extent of the problem, let alone understood how to fix it.”
Moema said that Hackney has investigated more than 250 taller privately-owned buildings to identify fire safety issues since 2017, and families in more than 26 developments have already seen improvements to their buildings because of this.
She added that the council would continue to support those campaigning around fire safety.
London councils have been reviewing fire safety in buildings since the tragic loss of 72 lives to the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington in June 2017 due to flammable cladding.