Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has told the developer of a London tower block partially clad in ACM cladding where a fire broke on Friday (7 May) of his “deep disappointment” that remediation work to the building was delayed.
Two people were taken to hospital following the fire at the 19-storey block at Ballymore’s New Providence Wharf in Poplar, which took hold on Friday morning. Parts of the eighth, ninth and 10th floors. Efforts to bring the fire under control involved 125 firefighters and 20 appliances.
The London Fire Brigade said 38 adults and four children were treated by ambulance crews at the scene for shock and smoke inhalation, and two men were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Ballymore said work to remediate the building, which was estimated to cost about £12m, started two weeks prior to the fire breaking out.
Jenrick met with Ballymore on Saturday (8 May) to discuss the blaze. A spokeperson for the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said: “The housing secretary visited New Providence Wharf on Friday to speak to and give thanks to the fire service and other responders in person. On Saturday he met with the developer Ballymore and made clear he expected that the residents would be fully supported for as long as is required, and that the full remediation works would begin today [Monday] without delay. He expressed his deep disappointment at the delays caused thus far by Ballymore.
“Given that the government had already made £8m of taxpayers’ money available to fund the remediation work, Mr Jenrick made it clear that he expected Ballymore to protect leaseholders from the costs of making their homes safe.”
Residents complained about the lack of updates regarding remediation works at New Providence Wharf just before the fire broke out. On 27 April, one Twitter called @leaseholdjm claiming to be a resident of the building said: “We were due to have a Zoom meeting and they cancelled. We have had no further updates and works due to start any date now. We know nothing. Embarrassing and poor form yet again. #Ballymore.”
In response to the Twitter user, Ballymore said: “We’re advised that the meeting was rescheduled to 4 May, the RA could not make the previous date.”
In a statement, Ballymore said: “At approximately 9am on Friday 7 May, a fire broke out in an apartment on the eighth floor of a building in the New Providence Wharf development. Thanks to the rapid and professional response of the London Fire Brigade the fire was quickly contained, with all residents evacuated from the building in a timely manner, in accordance with the building’s fire safety protocols. Due to the fire brigade response and to the performance of the fire safety systems on the building, the fire damage was contained to one apartment and to two balconies of apartments above. Most residents were able to return to their homes on Friday evening, while Ballymore is providing accommodation in a nearby hotel for those who require it.
“We understand how difficult and distressing Friday was for our residents and we are grateful for the patience they have demonstrated. Our response team is continuing to support them in any way we can.
“The cause of the fire has yet to be determined and we continue to work closely with the London Fire Brigade during their investigations. We can however confirm that the ACM cladding on the building did not combust and played no part in causing or facilitating the fire. Enabling works to remove the ACM cladding have been underway for two weeks prior to Friday’s incident. The works will recommence as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, a video showing residents of the building having a barbecue on the balcony of the building has also been circulating on social media.