Councillor Malcolm Grimston’s 10+ storey block update – dates to remember (30 August 2018)

The latest update from Councillor Malcolm Grimston was received on 30 August 2018 with regards to the proposed retro-fitting of water sprinklers in 10+ storey blocks in the Wandsworth Borough Council ward.

 —–

From: Malcolm Grimston

To: News from Councillor Malcolm Grimston

Sent: ‎Thursday‎, ‎August‎ ‎30‎, ‎2018‎ ‎11‎:‎44‎:‎03‎ ‎PM‎ ‎BST

Subject: 10+ storey newsletter – dates to remember

Dear All,

I am away for a few days from Saturday (though I should be in email contact) but just a few final reminders about the sprinkler campaign.

SEPTEMBER 2 (everyone), 7pm at the Alma Pub, 499 Old York Road, Wandsworth SW18 1TF – I gather the Labour Party is holding a public meeting to help build the campaign.

SEPTEMBER 7 (leaseholders) – last day for letting the First Tier Tribunal know you wish to be ‘involved’ in the process. You do NOT have to pay anything; you do NOT have to fill in the long form, only the one-page Reply Form (fourth page of the papers the Council sent round); you do NOT have to go on September 27 (see below – but it is great if you can) or indeed do anything else; and you CAN submit it by email as an attachment despite the automated email you may receive saying ‘applications’ can only be done by post (you are not making an ‘application’ apparently). So I would suggest as many of you as possible register your wish to be involved so as to emphasise the level of unhappiness with the Council’s scheme.

Many of you have already nominated me to speak on your behalf on September 27 if you can’t make it – I am very happy to do so and if anyone else wants to do the same please feel free; my address to put in the box in the middle of the Reply Form is Town Hall, Wandsworth High Street, London SW18 2PU.

SEPTEMBER 13 (everyone) – Housing and Regeneration Committee meeting at the Town Hall. I am suggesting that we have a protest outside the Town Hall at say 6:30pm onwards so we can catch members of the Housing Committee as they arrive at the Town Hall. If you can stay on for the meeting itself, at 7:30, please do: I have written a paper which I am presenting alongside the Labour Group asking that money be made available from your rents and service charges for legal advice, to match the sum that the Council is using to support its case against you.

SEPTEMBER 27 (leaseholders), 10am – preliminary meeting of the Tribunal, venue not yet decided.

I am working on a ‘master document’ to summarise the full case, which I intend to submit some time before the main Tribunal hearing that is expected in November. If you would like to see it please let me know, comments will be welcome. If anyone wants to write a technical/engineering commentary that would be helpful as that is out of my field of expertise.

Finally, extracts from emails which I have had from you which I have found particularly moving. This policy really is causing an enormous amount of misery to residents who have a right to expect better from their Council.

  • I’m writing to you with regard to “Sprinkler Gate.” I have quite a bit of experience when it comes to fitting sprinklers as I am a qualified sprinkler fitter. I have worked on some of the tallest residential new builds in Canary Wharf and have worked on the iconic Battersea Power Station development. But I have also worked on retro fits of old people’s homes around London and I can inform you that it is a very disruptive, incredibly messy and unpleasant experience for both residents and fitters alike. The type of concrete that our particular building is constructed from both makes fire spreading practically impossible and makes it a very lengthy job to get sprinklers fitted. I, like most leaseholders, don’t have thousands of pounds lying around to pay for something we don’t want or need. Other residents I have spoken to about the subject are all in agreement, tenants and leaseholders alike.
  • I am in my mid 50s and have worked hard for the last 30 years always paying my bills on time. I now find that I have not much of a pension built up (some of the money given to Wandsworth council for poor major works should have been put into a pension). I also have health issues and this stress/worry about more major internal building works is not helping. When I bought my flat in the early 1990s I thought that I would be able to retire by now but sadly I may in fact have to sell and move a long way from what I call home.
  • I am now ill from exhaustion and not working after dealing with all those builders and troubles. I have nobody to help me out financially as I live singly. Would be devastated if I have to pay for sprinklers. Two lifts in our block do not work intermittently, soon probably they will have to be exchanged for new ones – this is another very likely expense in this block and big worry for me. Even spreading the costs for the sprinklers and lifts over four years will not help me if I am not working and ill. So the only option would be to sell my flat as I will not have the money to repay. Is this what WBC is pushing me to do it – sell it as I cannot afford the potential future costs of sprinklers? But I am in my 60s and I cannot move out again it is too traumatic!!!
  • I oppose the installation of sprinklers in my flat because the construction of our block is safe and does not allow for fire spread: the Fire Risk Assessment from the Fire Brigade does not recommend sprinklers in our block. These blocks were safe to live for the last 60 years – why are they now unsafe? I have not witnessed any fire in this block since I have moved in here about 15 years ago. The installation of those sprinklers will brutalise our interiors and there would be further nuisance with the sprinklers which goes with that chronic damp and mould on the walls and obviously accidental damage of sprinklers and floods and extra redecoration and extra costs of contents insurance. I do not trust WBC as with regard to cost for the sprinklers that it will be just £4,000 – I fear the real cost will be much more as has happened before. I have family of four and I am the only earner – I cannot afford a third loan to pay for the sprinklers. It is so just frightening, how I will cope?

Best wishes, hope to see you on the 13th!

Malcolm Grimston

Councillor (Independent), West Hill Ward


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One thought on “Councillor Malcolm Grimston’s 10+ storey block update – dates to remember (30 August 2018)

  1. Pingback: Alton Leaseholders meeting (29 August 2018) | roeregeneration

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