Fire Safety in Southwark Blocks

Dear resident,

As the terrible news has emerged overnight from West London, our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the fire at Grenfell House. It is particularly raw for us in Southwark, bringing back dreadful memories of the Lakanal fire in 2009 in which 6 people tragically lost their lives.

I understand that many residents living in high-rise blocks in Southwark will be concerned, and I wanted to write to you straight away to reassure you that Southwark has carried out a huge programme of works in recent years to improve the safety of our tower blocks.

  • Following the fire the council began an ongoing programme to ensure all its properties received a regular full fire risk assessment, beginning with those deemed to be high risk.
  • Since 2009 the council has spent £62 million on its fire risk assessment programme and associated fire safety works for all its council housing in the borough.
  • We continue to invest as necessary as part of the ongoing major works programme.
  • The council works closely with London Fire Brigade (LFB) and meets regularly with them, both on an operational and fire safety level, informing them of progress on the risk profile of the borough and other issues.
  • LFB assists the council in advising residents on fire safety and fitting smoke alarms inside their homes.
  • In February 2015, all fire risk works to all high rise and lower/more complex housing were complete.
  • Since then the council has completed a programme to fit state of the art smoke detection systems to the dwellings in these blocks, and has a rolling programme underway to introduce a similar system in all remaining blocks.

As a council, we are doing all that we can to keep our residents safe from the devastating consequences of a major fire, but you can help too by following this advice:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home
  • Keep balconies free from clutter
  • Please don’t leave rubbish or bikes in communal areas or obstruct escape routes
  • Make sure you know where your nearest fire exit is
  • If you are a smoker please do not smoke in common areas of the block
  • Always fully extinguish cigarettes smoked in your home and dispose of them carefully and safely

We have been in contact with Kensington and Chelsea council to offer any help and assistance we can at this difficult time.

Thank you and best wishes,
Stephanie
Councillor Stephanie Cryan
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing

 www.southwark.gov.uk

BVAG Meeting Wednesday 15th March

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BVAG Meeting
Current Anti-Social Development Proposals
Wednesday 15 March 6.30pm
 |Globe House | Corner of Bermondsey Street & Crucifix Lane

Our area is again under threat from a variety of anti-social development proposals.  There are currently on the table several at different stages of gestation that threaten the local townscape and public amenity.

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The old Ticino Bakery at 176-178 Bermondsey Street
Planning Application ref: 16/AP/4727

ticino1

This application is aimed with some precision at the kinds of high street chains that we have always worried would soon be targeting Bermondsey St.  From its large 4 500 sq ft of floorspace to its Look-at-Me front elevation it is tailor-made for a chain operator.  It is scheduled to be considered by the Planning Committee on Tuesday 21 March.  We will be making a representations.  It is particularly worrying that the applicants have been able to claim the Council’s conservation officers have told them:  ‘The existing building is considered to be of no historic value. It appears to be of early to mid-20th century construction’  Even the most inexperienced conservation officer should have been able to recognise that this is wrong and the yellow stock bricks of the facade and the derrick date it to the 19th century.  The Head of Conservation has been asked to attend the meeting (but don’t bet on him putting his head above the parapet; he has not responded to several calls and emails).  Another concern is the large basement proposed which,  if allowed, will be hugely disruptive to traffic on Bermondsey St.  It is clear that Southwark’s planners have not taken note of the effects of the basement rush that has blighted Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea where, in generally much more compatible street scales and ground conditions, there are widespread problems with damage and disruption to neighbours.

Combined representations from objectors at planning committee meetings are limited to 3 minutes.  At next week’s meeting we will consider ours.

Tanner St Park / Bermondsey St/Hatchers Mews
Planning Application ref: 17/AP/0469

blue

This application is remarkable for its opacity.  The drawings shown on the A4 poster pinned on the park notice board by an anonymous concerned resident are all that can be found on the Southwark website.  And these could take a while to find themselves as the drawing titles are distinctly unhelpful.  What is clear is that the proposal would radically alter the experience of the park with an enormous change in the sees of enclosure, the overlooking and the loss of sunlight.  What made the planners think that the applicants should not be asked to produce a decent coloured elevation and perspective drawing before the application was put out to consultation is anyone’s guess.  We have invited the planning officer concerned to come and explain – but again, don’t be disappointed if he doesn’t show up; accountability is not a mantra of Southwark’s planners.

London City Mission
Tower Bridge Road
mission
This site is rumoured to be proposed for a 15-story tower.  It is not yet clear whether the planners have given a green light to this audacious ambition – but stranger things have happened.  Concerned next door neighbour and architect, Arthur Timothy, has agreed to come and tell us what he has found out about the proposal and hopefully bring a representative of the London City Mission who own the building.

Guiness Estate
Snowsfields
guinness

This estate has for some while been facing a proposed two-floor rooftop extension.  It is an obvious opportunity to restore the original roofline of the building whilst adding additional residential accommodation.  Ambitiously and heritage-sensitively approached the proposal could be beyond reproach.  In practice the proposal is likely to be for cheap construction with little regard for reinstatement of the original glory of this landmark estate.  Our researches are ongoing and we will be giving an update at the meeting.

The old Selected Rug Co. 74-84 Long Lane
Spaces Co Living project

long
long lane plan
One of the few remaining buildings of character on Long Lane was the subject of a consultation last month in relation to a proposal for a ‘co-living’ tower.  The developers (or rather their PR team) were less than transparent about who they are and where they are in the invariable deal with the planners prior to the consultation charade that follows the agreed application.  It was equally far from clear what treatment they are proposing for the existing Rug Co. building (pictured).  Notes to be compared at the meeting.

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The Ticino and Tanner St Park applications can be found on the Southwark website under the application references quoted above.  Our followers are urged to see them for themselves and make their own representations but of course to come to the meting to find out more.

All welcome

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7th March12th March
WOW – Women of the World festival at Southbank Centre champions gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examining the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential.

Hear influential and challenging speakers, take part in mentoring sessions and workshops, and see some of the best female comedians, musicians, performers and writers around.

Past speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Julie Walters, Shami Chakrabarti, Gordon Brown MP, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox, Caitlin Moran, Vivienne Westwood, Grayson Perry, Sandi Toksvig, Leymah Gbowee, Patrick Stewart and Christine Lagarde.

Our 2017 programme is now on sale, with information on Day and Weekend Passes as well as one–off events with Sandi Toksvig and Gillian Anderson.

https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/women-of-the-world#overview

International Women’s Day 2017 events

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Each year International Women’s Day sees thousands of events – global gatherings, conferences, awards, exhibitions, festivals, fun runs, corporate events, concert performances, speaking events, online digital gatherings and more. Events are held by women’s networks, corporations, charities, educational institutions, government bodies, political parties, the media and further communities.

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Events