H&F Council is to consult residents on a proposal to demolish Hartopp and Lannoy Points in Fulham.
H&F Council has commissioned extensive structural surveys to look at the condition of these ageing blocks.
Initial surveys by H&F Building Control highlighted fire safety concerns which led the council change the evacuation advice and put in place round-the-clock fire wardens, weekly Fire Brigade visits and a new fire alarm system.
These initial surveys also found the blocks were structurally safe in the short-term, but recommended a further intrusive survey to inform decisions on the long-term future of the buildings.
The findings from this more detailed structural survey, conducted by structural engineers at Arup, an independent firm of consulting engineers, are published today.
The Arup report confirms the findings of the initial structural survey, and recommend that the council should either strengthen the blocks or demolish them as soon as practicable. While the future of the blocks is being determined, we want to reassure residents they are safe to live in, subject to the current safety measures in place.
Safety comes first
“Residents’ safety always comes first and we think the safest option is to demolish Hartopp and Lannoy,” says Cllr Lisa Homan, H&F Cabinet Member for Housing.
“Residents are the first to get the survey results and we will now hold a detailed consultation with them about whether to demolish the blocks. We’ve been completely open with residents about our survey findings and involved them in every aspect of the review of the two blocks. We intend to continue to do things with, not to, residents.
“The expert advice is for the time being the bocks remain safe for residents to live in, and we will continue to keep the additional fire safety measures in place for as long as they are needed.”
Too expensive to repair
Refurbishment of the two blocks is estimated to cost more than £16million and, with the inherent structural problems of large panel system buildings, would not provide a good value option.
A number of councils with blocks built using similar construction methods have proposed or begun demolition, including Haringey, Lewisham, Leicester and Portsmouth.
Of the 112 properties in the two Fulham blocks, 51 are already empty as a result of residents taking up the council’s offer of moves to alternative properties.
Of the 48 remaining families, 20 have offers of alternative homes and the council is working with the others to understand their preferences for the future. Eight tenants have asked to remain. While the future of the blocks is being determined the council will continue to work with residents to prioritise voluntary moves and leasehold buy-backs.