Only half the residents to be ejected from Marie Curie House have found new homes

Herbie Russell (18 May, 2022)

A report due to be published in Easter will shed light on why, after the Lakanal House fire, Marie Curie's fire safety defects weren't spotted sooner.

45021Marie Curie

Just over half the households forced to move out of their Camberwell housing block due to fire safety problems have found new homes, according to the Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (TRA) chair.

In a meeting described as a “bolt out of the blue”, in May 2021, the council told residents that Marie Curie House, Sceaux Gardens, SE5 would be emptied.

A year on, roughly half of the households to be ejected have been rehoused, with the rest desperately scouring Southwark Homesearch for new properties.

All have been given band one priority but the lack of available housing in the borough has slowed the search.

Mike Edge, Sceaux Gardens TRA chair, said: “It gets rather dispiriting looking on Homesearch every day because there’s nothing suitable in there.”

On 29 April 2022, Sceaux Gardens TRA announced that 43 per cent of flats were still occupied, casting doubt on the council’s original plans to complete works by September 2023.

To speed up the process, Mr Edge said he asked the council to buy a private block to house ejected tenants and leaseholders, during a cabinet meeting on 8 March 2022. The council reportedly noted his request, but Mr Edge concedes that it’s unlikely to ever be fulfilled.

In 2009, Marie Curie House’s sister block, Lakanal House, set ablaze due to fire safety defects, killing six and injuring twenty. Marie Curie House residents were shocked to find out, eleven years later, that their own homes had the same issues.

Editors’ view: Why wasn’t fire safety at Marie Curie prioritised sooner?

 

Mr Edge expressed concern that it took so long for the authorities to address the safety of Marie Curie House.

Now, Andrea White, managing director at A W Fire Ltd, is producing an independent report into the fire safety works undertaken by the council at Marie Curie House after the 2009 Lakanal fire.

The council was approached for comment.

Council demand answers after a report commissioned on Marie Curie House fire safety does not ‘address key questions’

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