Monday 18 September 2023

Relief that no injuries at Kilburn Square tower block fire

From X (formerly Twitter) @IvorRBFCosta 


From London Fire Briagde

Eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters were called to a flat fire on Kilburn Square in Kilburn.

Half of a flat on the 13th floor of a 15 storey building was alight. Thankfully, no injuries are reported.

It was a very visible fire and the Brigade's 999 Control room received 78 calls alerting them to the fire.

The Brigade was called at 1843 and was under control by 2009. Fire crews from Kentish Town, Kensington, Park Royal, Hendon, Chelsea, Euston and Soho fire stations were in attendance.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 


Anonymous said...

A great relief that no residents were harmed, and many thanks to LFB for their efforts to put out the fire.

Fire engines from a wide area came to Kilburn Square, but no mention of Pound Lane, Willesden. Would the fire have been dealt with more quickly if Boris Johnson hadn't closed and downsized fire stations when he was Mayor of London?

Anonymous said...

The current Mayor of London has had plenty of opportunity to boost the number of fire stations and fire service personnel - he's overseen record home building in huge tower blocks yet he's not increased the level of fire service cover.

Philip Grant said...

Although it is not a point I have raised in my own objection to Brent's planning application for new homes at Kilburn Square (ref. 22/3669), I am aware that fire safety issues with the Council's plans have been included in some objections.

When different fire safety issues were raised in objections against Brent's Windmill Court planning application, around 18 months ago, Planning Officers said that these could not be considered by Brent's Planning Committee, as they would be dealt with under "Building Regulations" after planning consent had been given.

It seems likely that the Kilburn Square application may be going to Planning Committee next month (even though it still claims that all of the planned general needs housing will be for London Affordable Rent, even though Cabinet agreed in November 2022 that around 40 of these 99 units would be "converted" to shared ownership).

Surely, after this fire, Brent's Planning Officers and Planning Committee need to consider fire safety as part of the application, before recommending it for consent?

Keith Anderson said...

Philip Grant is on very much the same page as Kilburn Village Residents’ Association (of which I’m Chair; the estate is part of our patch). There are several Fire Safety issues in the Planning Application not yet addressed, but which we believe are material. We’ve been seeking advance guidance on the advice Officers will give to the Committee this time round.

Last night after talking to some Fire Brigade Officers, and to our members sheltering in nearby McDonalds, I wrote the following Letter to the Brent and Kilburn Times. It should be in this week’s print edition.


Dear Editor

You will have reported on the hugely alarming fire in the Kilburn Square tower on Monday evening; and it’s a wake-up call for some key fire safety issues in Brent’s ill-considered, over-sized (and non-viable) expansion proposals for the estate.

This tower has 17 storeys. And before a huge push back from the estate residents and the neighbouring community, Brent Council was proposing to add a second 17-storey tower in a plan to expand the estate by over 80% vs 2019. The second tower has been dropped, but the Council is still seeking Planning Permission for a scheme (not financially viable unless they sell a lot of the flats that were to be for rental to those on the housing waiting list ) that adds 60% more households vs 2019, while removing mature trees, green space and a playground.

In terms of fire safety, there are a number of problems NOT addressed by the Planning Application in the post-Grenfell environment. The Fire Statement for Gateway One (reviewed by the Health and Safety Executive) makes no reference to this existing tower (an "Existing Relevant Building"); and the more detailed Fire Statement for compliance with Policy D12 of the London Plan is simply missing.

The pre-set response to a fire like this includes a high-lift aerial appliance. Thankfully that was not needed this time – but the widest turning circle listed in the Planning Application (for a refuse truck) is not enough to allow that aerial appliance to set up if it WERE needed. And the expansion hinges on re-opening an undercroft parking space disused for decades, partly because of Fire Safety non-compliance; but the Application fails to explain how that space will be made compliant.

Various objections on the Planning Portal have pointed out these are “material” considerations which should be addressed before the scheme goes to the Planning Committee.