Statement on the Evacuation of Chalcots

Camden Liberal Democrats fully support the call made by the Camden New Journal and others for an independent inquiry into the events leading to the evacuation of thousands of residents from the Chalcots towers. This review should examine the decisions and actions taken by councillors, Council officers, contractors, subcontractors and the fire authorities, and any other interested parties, from the setting up of the Chalcots PFI until the evacuation. We would of course wish to contribute to that review where appropriate.

We support the immediate concern by those leading the Council to do everything they can to mitigate risk to residents, both in the Chalcots and in other tower blocks in Camden, and to make sure that the residents evacuated from the Chalcots are able to return to their homes as soon as possible, and in the knowledge that they will be safe there. We welcome the news that some residents are starting to returning to their homes.

Those Camden staff members and the many volunteers who have helped the residents evacuated have handled a difficult situation, which was clearly a major logistical challenge to the Council, with great dedication and they deserve thanks and praise.

What matters now for residents in Camden and across the country is a full understanding of the Grenfell disaster, what has emerged from it at national level and, closer to home, regarding the Chalcots situation.

Social housing that is safe to live in is not only crucial to many Camden residents but a vital part of Camden itself: there should be no question that all our tenants and leaseholders deserve to feel safe at night, not worried by the risk of fire. It is vital that lessons learnt from the Grenfell disaster should be implemented as soon as possible, both nationally and here in Camden.

Tom Simon
Chair, Camden Liberal Democrats

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