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Dorchester Court: residents’ anger as dangerous levels of lead found in dilapidated Herne Hill estate

Residents of a Herne Hill estate were shocked to be told there were dangerous levels of lead in drinking water supplied to some of the flats.

Tests carried out by Lambeth Council at Dorchester Court in Herne Hill showed that the amount of lead in the drinking water in two flats was three times as high as regulations allow, according to the London Renters Union.

An email seen by the News from the estate’s management company told residents not to drink water from the tap, saying they would deliver drinking water instead.

The estate, which is owned by Manaquel, a company controlled by multimillionaire Heinrich Feldman, has suffered structural problems, hot water outages, and vermin, as the News has previously reported. The London Renters Union said temporary boilers saw residents taken to hospital.

Demands for rent break in Herne Hill’s ‘dilapidated’ Dorchester Court


Lambeth Council have slapped an improvement notice on Manaquel, meaning they have to fix broken pipes and replace broken windows with double glazing.

Dorchester Court resident Cara said: “How many more near misses is it going to take before we see these dangerous conditions sorted out once and for all? Residents are sick and tired of having to fight Manaquel over a landlord’s basic legal duty to provide us with safe, warm homes.

“It’s been great to see the council issue an improvement notice, but it feels like different parts of the council are failing to communicate.”

“Lambeth Council is doing all it can to support residents at Dorchester Court which is a privately-owned estate,” said a council spokesperson.

“Following complaints raised by tenants and leaseholders about living conditions on the estate, an inspection by the council found traces of lead in the water supplied to two flats.

“The council has been liaising with the freeholder, and across agencies including Thames Water, in managing the situation. We have ensured residents have been supplied with safe drinking water, and we have given the occupants advice about how to stay safe while we carry out further testing.

“There are no plans to take enforcement action at this stage.”

A spokesperson for Property Partners, which manages the estate for Manaquel, said that the replacement of the estate’s lead pipes was part of a wider planning application that Lambeth was still considering.

They added that the council was continuing to test more flats and would decide if any short-term measures were required.

The spokesperson said: “It is important to note that four flats have been tested to date, two passed and two failed, one of which was vacant meaning there was standing water in the pipes.”


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