Waltham blocks still in need of fire safety measures

More than 300 “high priority” fire safety fixes in housing blocks in Waltham Forest are still incomplete more than four years after Grenfell.

After the 2017 tragedy, fire engineers found more than 16,000 changes needed in 511 multi-storey blocks around the borough.

Members of the council’s audit and governance committee were told on October 14 that just under 60 per cent of these fixes are now complete.

However, more than 650 repairs, of varying degrees of urgency, are overdue, including 132 alone at Attlee Terrace in Prospect Hill, Walthamstow.

Of the progress so far, committee chair Joe Lacey-Holland said: “It’s just incomparable to where we started, it feels like [we have] a really solid grip.”

The repairs are currently being carried out by contractor Morgan Sindall, after the council parted on bad terms with former contractor Osborne in 2019.

In April, it was revealed the council is “in dispute” with Osborne over its “lax” service and will be taking them to court, with a hearing expected next year.

A report prepared for the committee showed 303 of the 1,011 fixes deemed most urgent by engineers are either ongoing, overdue or “under review”.

Northwood Tower, on the Marlowe Road Estate in Walthamstow, has three “high priority” fixes overdue.

The Fred Wigg & John Walsh towers in Leytonstone, however, are the most in need of work – with nine “high priority” changes incomplete in each block.

Door repairs and renewals is one of the largest areas of overdue work, with 1,149 now officially late.

Last December, the council was publicly accused of “misleading” residents after it was revealed newly-installed doors in Northwood Tower and other blocks were not as safe as claimed.

The report shows there are also 5,376 “medium” priority repairs still yet to be completed across the borough’s council-owned high rises and 907 of low priority.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter