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Health & Safety lunacy on the Greenbank Estate

Health & Safety lunacy on the Greenbank Estate

Up to 40 residents of the Greenbank Estate in the heart of Wapping took part in a lively meeting outdoor meeting in the evening of Tuesday 2 November to protest at a Tower Hamlets Homes order to remove washing lines, hanging flower baskets, satellite dishes and security gates because they represent fire hazards.

Flower baskets a fire hazard?

The hastily arranged meeting, organised by Jackman House resident Steve Croft, was organised after some residents received notices from the managers of the estate, Tower Hamlets Homes, stating that washing lines and hanging flower baskets represented a ‘fire hazard’ and that satellite dishes and security gates were also to be removed.

Poplar’s Will Crooks estate already hit

Tenants of the Will Crooks estate in Poplar have already been raided by the Tower Hamlets Homes removal squad assisted by the Met Police who apparently removed metal doors, iron grills, plant pots and even a child’s bike, according to a report in Docklands24.

Will the Greenbank Estate be next on the Tower Hamlet Homes hit list?

‘Disbelief and anger’

The general tone of the meeting was one of disbelief and anger that residents were being ordered to remove washing lines despite the fact that some suffered from condensation inside their flats and leaky roofs.

Photograph of satellite dish on side of flats“This is madness,” said one resident. “Times are hard and we are all supposed to be conserving energy, yet we are being told not to use clothes lines which are free but use tumble dryers which cost a fortune and are environmentally unfriendly.”

Communal drying rooms have been available for residents to use in previous years before these were turned into flats.

Two representatives of Tower Hamlets Homes listened to the views of those attending the meeting and then put their point of view.

The Tower Hamlets Homes clearance order seems to be linked to the annual audit commission inspection which is soon to take and the need for a deep cleaning of the estate.

Many residents complained that the letters sent by Tower Hamlets Homes dated 27 Oct 2010 entitled ‘Communal Instructions’ had been received by some residents and not others.

Residents Action Group to be established

Photograph of clothes on washing line with 'Fire Risk?' overlayAt the conclusion of the meeting the representatives of Tower Hamlets Homes agreed to a further meeting in the next 10 days.

Steve Croft is currently organising the establishment of a Residents Action Group which will no doubt be keeping a close eye on developments.

UPDATE Next residents meeting?

Tower Hamlets Homes have been unable to provide answers within the 10 day period agreed. The follow up meeting, originally scheduled for 16th November has been postponed.

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