Colln Nickless's Email To Cllr's Raising Serious Concerns About Orchard Village

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Colln Nickless's Email To Cllr's Raising Serious Concerns About Orchard Village

Lorraine Moss
Please see below, this is an email from Colin Nickless who is chair of the Orchard Village Residents Association

Absolutely awful about what happened in Grenfell. My thoughts are with those families that have lost loved ones or those effected by this disaster.
It seems that nobody has learned the lessons from the Lakanal House fire in 2009 that cost the lives of 6 residents. The Stay Put policy only works if the building quality is up to specification. If compartmentalisation of flats is compromised, then asking residents to stay in their homes for 30mins to an hour is putting people in danger.
Document B regulation 38 of building regulations requires the build to comply with the fire safety order.
Listening to the former Chair of the Grenfell Residents Association, he tried to raise the same concerns as I have, but the authorities ignored or sidelined. No action was taken.
I have been trying to raise the concerns of residents over the fire protection for sometime. My emails have been falling on deaf ears. Even yesterday I wrote to Councillors on this matter.
I have written again this morning, to Havering Council leadership, all councillors, Mayor of London, London Fire Brigade and my local MP.
My emails include photographic evidence of failures in fire safety. Previous emails have included our own surveyors reports stating that our homes are fire hazards.
I am putting this in public because, if in the awful event that there is a fire in Orchard Village, I want it in public that I had, for sometime raised concerns.
Dear all,
Late last year I emailed the Council with concerns regarding the fire safety in Orchard Village. I provided photographic evidence of failures in fire protection and breaches in building regulations, by failures in construction which would counter the Stay Put policy in place in the homes. Some of that evidence provided to the Council was in the form of a surveyors report on the flat, funded by the residents themselves.
After we raised concerns over fire safety I also raised concerns with the Borough Commander of Havering and put in FOI requests to see the risk assessments to LFB. I was told that Clarion, or Circle Housing as it was known previously had not provided a risk assessment to the LFB. I asked Karen Ayling for a copy of any risk assessment but again, none was provided. Failure to carry out a risk assessment is a breach of the fire safety order. The borough commander, in charge of Havering, had no concerns over safety in Orchard Village and dismissed concerns over the failures in construction. His colleagues on the ground, however, were very concerned and told me that there was serious concerns at Orchard Village. They were so concerned that they put another fire engine on our watch raising the engines available from two to three.
Our calls for an investigation seem to be falling on deaf ears. The residents of the Grendel Tower where also ignored. They raised many of their concerns prior to the fire breaking out. Their concerns are our concerns! It is worth noting that at present, OVRA is also constructing a Wordpress site to highlight all the failures in construction, regulation and management.
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/…/grenfell-tower…/
Over the last week I visited several blocks on Orchard Village. What I found at the time left me concerned for residents and angry that the landlord continues to be negligent in fire safety, putting residents lives at risk.
Here are some of my findings from this one quick visit;
A fire alarm that was going off on silent, which a resident told me was activated "some time ago". I have included a video.
This is a smoke vent control unit. I have raised these issues many times. Often these are left flashing "fault". A fireman uses these to operate the smoke vents.
As you can see from this picture, it is impossible to operate. The landlords will blame this on vandalism, but again, this has been like this for sometime.
These photos were taken in Block B. As you can see there are access for fire to get between the division of properties. Where pipework goes through divisional walls between properties it should be fitted with fire collars not left open or filled with sealant.
Our surveyors stated that the air movement in the cavity walls would lead to fire spreading rapidly between properties. This is part of our legal challenge towards Clarion. The builders, Willmott Dixon have been reluctant to open dividing walls between homes. Residents have been pressurised to leave their homes, so that the builders can carry out work without scrutiny. We believe that this is to cover up failures in construction and fire protection.
The Stay Put Policy works on the basis the building is of sound construction with adequate fire protection. There is plenty of evidence that both have been compromised. Residents are expected to stay in their homes for 30mins to 1 hour. The flats do not have fire escapes and the balconies, constructed of wood, pose difficulties in rescue for the fire brigade, as often parking bays obstruct access of the fire engines to get there ladders close. With the Fire Keys, many of these have been constructed, over head height. You can see from this here. A fireman would need steps or a bunk up to open this.
It is the landlords duty to check all fire alarms, smoke alarms in communal areas, or any electrical items provided to the accommodation. It is my understanding from my residents, that this hasn't happened. I have seen evidence of light fittings burning out, electrical items exploding and wiring, that has been installed incorrectly.
This morning Havering, Clarion and Ward Councillors meet to discuss the many issues on Orchard Village.
I believe this is the last chance for the relevant bodies to act.
This morning I have been contacted by the national press regarding concerns over fire safety.
If the leadership of the council or senior officers at the Council fail to act on this, I would have to question their competence and ask other Councillors to call for a vote of no confidence in their leadership.
Surely it is time to act before Orchard Village becomes another Grenfell or Lakanal disaster.
Regards
Colin Nickless
Chairman
Orchard Village Residents Association


“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Colln Nickless's Email To Cllr's Raising Serious Concerns About Orchard Village

Percy
Lets get copies and hand them to every councilor as they go in to the next meeting.
Revolutions are always verbose.
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Re: Colln Nickless's Email To Cllr's Raising Serious Concerns About Orchard Village

Lorraine Moss
Hi Percy, Colin has emailed all of them.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Colln Nickless's Email To Cllr's Raising Serious Concerns About Orchard Village

Percy
Yes but a letter handed to them on camera is much more powerful than an email which they can all deny.
Revolutions are always verbose.
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Re: Colln Nickless's Email To Cllr's Raising Serious Concerns About Orchard Village

MR H
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Re: Colln Nickless's Email To Cllr's Raising Serious Concerns About Orchard Village

dalek1
In reply to this post by Lorraine Moss
Big thumbs up to Colin.
He's a very dogged character who does not give up.
As far as I'm concerned the buck stops at one place.
The individuals who granted planning permission for the development to go ahead.
Yes our dear friends Havering council.