Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Prospect Ring

I was asked by a resident about being charged £350 by tenants for changings doors on the tower blocks on Prospect Ring, and about the cost of the works on the refuse chutes. This was the reply I recieved from Barnet Homes:

Thank you for your enquiry below on behalf of the residents of Prospect Ring.
I can confirm that Barnet Homes are carrying out works at Prospect Ring as required to do following fire risk assessments carried out in line with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In blocks such as Prospect Ring, the most important thing when fire occurs is that it is contained and 30 minute fire resistant doors enable this. As you may have seen in this week’s news coverage (regarding the tragic events of the fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell in 2009), this is a high profile area and non compliance with the actions from risk assessments may have devastating consequences. This area of work is extremely important to the Council, the Board and the Barnet Homes senior management team.

There are a total of 53 leaseholders at Prospect Ring (it is only leaseholders that are required to contribute towards the cost of these works) of which only six need to have their front entrance doors replaced. This is because they are currently not in compliance with fire safety requirements putting their own households and other residents of the block/s at risk.

Leaseholders are required to contribute towards the cost of this work according to the lease percentage defined under the terms of the lease.  If this cost is not passed on to and met by the leaseholders it then becomes a direct cost to the Housing Revenue Account. It is important that we recover costs from leaseholders to avoid this and we do make every effort to be fair when doing so.

Whilst I understand the point you make about the non-compliant doors not being the fault of the affected leaseholders the requirement for 30-minute fire resistant doors was not recognised when the properties were built. Compliant doors enable residents to remain safely in their flats until a fire is put out or help reaches them if it is outside the flat or for a fire to be contained within the flat again until the fire is put or help arrives. Barnet Homes have a duty of care to take the necessary steps to minimise the risk to all residents and the leaseholders are required to contribute towards the cost of it doing so under the terms of the lease. 

The leaseholders are invited to contact their Leasehold Housing Officers if they are in financial difficulty where every effort will be made to support them. This may be in agreeing a time to pay arrangement or with a referral to free independent debt advice for example.