Martin Ford 02 September 2019

Hackney to take developer to court

A London borough is preparing to take legal action against a developer over fire safety fears in a block of flats.

Hackney LBC said it had uncovered ‘serious construction defects’ at Bridport House in Hoxton, including missing smoke and fire barriers, flawed brickwork, balconies and windows, and potentially combustible insulation.

If given the go-ahead by senior Hackney councillors later this month, 41 families – all council tenants – will be moved over the next year, after which work lasting up to two years will begin.

The council said it would be taking legal action against Willmott Partnership Homes, the contractor that built Bridport House in 2011.

Hackney Mayor, Philip Glanville, said: ‘Moving residents from homes we all hoped would be new and permanent is not an easy decision, but our first priority is their safety and we have decided that at Bridport House doing this work while the building remains occupied would create an unacceptable risk.

‘We will be taking legal action to hold those responsible for these failures to account.

'We also should have done a better job.’

The council has introduced 24-hour patrols and changes to the evacuation procedure in the short-term to ensure the building is safe.

A statement issued by Willmott Partnership Homes said that the insulation was ‘widely accepted as complying with building regulations’ when built and approved by the council.

It added: ‘The council has made some very strong statements, many of which we do not accept. 

'However, in view of the threat of legal action, we are prevented from responding to them in detail at this stage.

‘Notwithstanding that point, we too want to say how sorry we are that matters have turned out in this way and, of course, for the concern this will have caused to the residents at Bridport House.’

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