Haringey Council has voted in favour of demolishing two residential tower blocks in Tottenham, north London.
Amid protests from residents, the cabinet unanimously voted in favour of tearing down the “structurally unsafe” blocks on the Broadwater Farm Estate. The buildings had previously been declared in danger of a “Ronan Point-style” progressive collapse.
The cabinet also agreed to rehouse more than 300 people living at the Tangmere and Northolt tower blocks by October.
A 28 day consultation period with residents will now take place to determine whether or not to go ahead with the preferred demolition or to strengthen the structures instead.
Cabinet member for housing and estate councillor Emine Ibrahim said that the “residents safety was of utmost importance” provoking calls of “rubbish” and “liar” from the public gallery.
“The safety of the residents is of utmost importance to us, and that must come first,” Ibrahim said. “We have already implemented temporary safety measures and have been working to make the blocks as safe as possible ever since the safety report was published.”
She added: “It would be irresponsible not to express a view on what we think is the best solution for our residents.
“That is why our preferred option is to demolish the blocks.”
The council estimated that it would cost around £28M to strengthen the two buildings, while the overall cost of rebuilding the homes could be in the range of £17M to £29M.
Consequently the council is in favour of the proposed rebuilding scheme to provide better and safer living standards to its residents.
Haringey’s cabinet also agreed to remove piped gas from the blocks at the end of October if a decision to strengthen Tangmere is made rather than to demolish.
Secretary of the Residents Association for Broadwater Estate said that the October deadline was “unrealistic” and would leave people homeless.
“To assume hundreds of people can be rehoused by October is simply not possible,” he said. “The truth is that fitting a new boiler at Tangmere would cost the council £1.3M and they simply want to save money.
“Instead we will end up in hotels and B&Bs and we want assurances that that won’t happen.”
In total, structural engineers from consultant Ridge discovered flaws in 11 out of 12 tower blocks on the Tottenham estate, following routine checks made after the Grenfell Tower fire last June.
Further stress tests have revealed the two towers could suffer a partial collapse – similar to the fate of Ronan Point in 1968 – if a gas explosion occurred.
Tangmere failed both a 34 kN/m² and a 17 kN/m² structural test, meaning there is a risk of progressive collapse from an explosion caused by piped gas, or a vehicle strike or bottled gas explosion.
Earlier this month Concrete Centre head of structural engineering Jenny Burridge questioned why it has taken so long for the faults to be identified.
She said: “I’m surprised they didn’t pick up on the flaws while they were being built.
“Our current equivalent of Ronan Point is Grenfell, and you know what’s happening – any cladding going on is currently being looked at.
“I don’t know why it didn’t happen 50 years ago, why they weren’t as worried about that particular thing – making sure that the ties worked – than we are with cladding [after Grenfell].”
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