Southwark Council has failed to guarantee that tenants forced to leave their flats in Camberwell’s Marie Curie house over fire safety flaws will be rehomed in the borough.
Residents will have to move out of the block in Sceaux Gardens estate, a ‘sister block’ to Lakanal House, for at least a year while urgent fire safety improvements are made after it was discovered the building is unsafe and in need of a constant ‘waking watch’ over fears any outbreak of fire would not be contained.
Shockingly, as this paper has reported, the work due to commence is essentially the same as previous safety work undertaken at Lakanal in the years following a devastating fire that claimed the lives of six people. Marie Curie is home to 98 flats, including tenants and leaseholder homes.
We asked Southwark Council what type of temporary housing would be offered to tenants caught up in the fire safety scandal and whether the local authority could confirm they will all be made offers within the borough – a promise the council appears unable to make.
The only information made available to date explains that although all tenants will be given the opportunity to bid on properties within Southwark, there is no guarantee they will find homes for the duration of the remediation work: “We will work with residents to look at all options for housing, however we aim to use existing homes in the borough where possible,” the council explains. “Tenants will continue to be tenants of the council and pay their council rent.”
Meanwhile, leaseholders will also be negotiated with on a ‘case by case’ basis.
The council has also been unable – or unwilling – publicly to speculate on the projected cost of the work and how the influx of new bidders will impact on its already overstretched housing waiting list, saying they simply “do not know how much it will cost at this time.”