Grenfell fire: Camden council evacuates 800 flats for ‘urgent safety checks’ amid cladding concerns

More than 800 homes in a Camden estate are set to be evacuated amid concerns over the safety of the cladding.

Residents living in five tower blocks in on Chalcots estate in Swiss Cottage  will be moved out into temporary accommodation following a safety inspection carried out with London Fire Brigade.

The council said it is undertaking “urgent safety works so that residents can be fully assures of their safety”.

The works, which were announced following a council meeting with residents on Thursday night, are anticipated to take three to four weeks.


Previous buildings in Camden have had cladding removed (Jeremy Selwyn)

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, said: “Camden Council is absolutely determined to ensure that our residents are safe and we have promised them that we will work with them, continue to act swiftly and be open and transparent.

“Last night the Chief Executive and I led a public meeting to listen to the concerns held by residents of the Chalcots estate. Upon hearing from residents the we immediately instructed a joint fire inspection with the London Fire Brigade.

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“Today the London Fire Brigade completed a joint inspection of the blocks with Camden Council technical experts.

“Together we decided that the Taplow block needs to be temporarily decanted while we undertake urgent fire safety works so that residents can be fully assured of their safety.

“This means that we need to move residents from their homes and into temporary accommodation.

“We anticipate that these works will be completed within three to four weeks.

“We realise that this is hugely distressing for everyone affected and we will be doing all we can, alongside the LFBand other authorities, to support our residents at this difficult time. The Grenfell fire changes everything – we need to do everything we can to keep residents safe.

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“You will appreciate that this is an emerging situation and we will be providing regular updates.”

In response to the statement, Mayor Sadiq Khan posted: “I am in close contact with Camden Council, the LFB and the Government about the precautionary measures being taken at the Chalcots Estate in Swiss Cottage.

“Following advice from fire prevention experts at LFB, it has been decided that the best way to keep residents safe is to relocate them tonight, as a precautionary measure.

“There is a particular set of circumstances on this estate that make this necessary. Fire safety checks are ongoing at other estates across the UK.


Evacuation: Video grab taken from Sky News of Camden Council Leader Georgia Gould (Sky news)

“I will continue working closely with all London boroughs, the London Fire Brigade and the Government and we will do everything possible to keep all Londoners safe.”

The buildings in north London are made with similar cladding to that used on Grenfell Tower – the scene of a devastating fire in Kensington on June 14.

A total of 79 people are believed to have been killed in the blaze.

Police issued a statement on Friday confirming that the fire had been caused by a faulty fridge-freezer.

The Met said the blaze took hold of the building quickly because of cladding and insulation used on the building that had failed safety checks.

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