Town Hall to launch post-Grenfell ‘safety charter’ with residents’ help

Camden Council and its residents are collaborating on a safety charter for the borough’s buildings – aimed at avoiding another tragedy like the Grenfell Tower fire.

As the council continues to digest the 2017 Hackitt Review into building regulation sparked by the Grenfell blaze, the chair of the housing scrutiny committee quizzed officers on how accelerated a timeline for reform could be.

The 28 March committee agreed to undertake an internal review on resident safety, looking ahead to a ‘community conversation’ in Camden as a first step to putting together the charter, which is expected to launch this summer.

Cllr Douglas Beattie (Lab, Kilburn), chair of the housing scrutiny committee, said: “Grenfell was in 2017. In this council, we’re working towards a 2025 series of objectives, but my instinct is that on all of this, we need to get there before 2025, because otherwise we’re eight years after Grenfell.”

Council officers responded that while some of the timeline of the implementation of a “step-change” in giving residents a voice and implementing a unified systematic approach towards safety for every building was to some extent out of the council’s hands, the Town Hall is attempting to be a “market leader” in its efforts.

Cllr Steve Adams (Con, Belsize), said: “I think the most important thing about the Hackitt review is going to be about how we respond to it in respect of existing buildings, rather than new buildings.

“It’s going to be how much and in what way we look at the current buildings at risk in the borough and back-introduce consideration, and how much we go through a conversation about in what way buildings are non-compliant in respect of emerging legislation.”

Cllr Lazzaro Pietragnoli (Lab, Camden Town with Primrose Hill), inquired how much the updated rules would apply to privately-rented tenants in which the council was not the landlord, but was informed that private developers will have to follow new regulations recommended by the review.