Monday 15 April 2024

LETTER: Dangerous scaffolding in high winds on a residential council building 'Not Brent's problem' according to the Council's Emergency Team


Queens Park was closed by the City of London Corporation today as a precaution in the high winds. Public Safety is of paramount importance. Meanwhile I received this letter today from just down the road in South Kilburn. 

Dear Editor, 

For months residents of Alpha House in South Kilburn and their representatives have been raising issues with Brent Council about scaffolding which has ben erected on a section (1/3rd) of Alpha House. Despite repeated promises from the Council that residents will be forewarned if scaffolding is to be erected on their block (a promise Brent has never kept), it took repeated complaints after the scaffolding was erected last November before any letter was sent to residents saying work needed to be done on the roof guttering. Since then, issues have been raised several times about the safety of the scaffolding and easy access to it. 

Questions have been asked about how long it is going to be there, particularly as people have only been seen working on it very few times. Moreover, people know that much of the costs of such work is offloaded on to leaseholders, and the longer the scaffolding remains (to what purpose?) the higher the charge to leaseholders.

This evening in the high winds, a board blew off the scaffolding and another looked as if it soon would. A call to Brent Council's emergency number got the response that it wasn't Brent's problem (on a Council block!) because the scaffolding doesn't belong to Brent..., The only suggestion was that it could be cordoned off (by who?), ignoring the fact that this would prevent residents getting to, or leaving, their flats.

So the Fire Brigade was called. They came promptly, but apparently they are not allowed to go on scaffolding (because it might be unsafe.....), but did suggest - and help with - knocking on doors and warning people of the problem and danger.

So much for Brent Council, both for its lack of willingness to deal with queries about the safety of the scaffolding in the first place, and then a completely offhand response to an emergency situation.

Pete Firmin, chair, Alpha, Gorefield and Canterbury Tenants and Residents Association

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