Evacuated Camden residents: We are being treated as ‘second-class citizens’ at hotel

A group of tower block residents evacuated from the Chalcots estate over fire safety fears are demanding to be allowed to return, claiming they are being treated as “second-class citizens” at a hotel. 

Camden council has put up families in the three-star Hampstead Britannia where rooms start from about £90 a night.

Hundreds have been moved out of Chalcots for up to four weeks after a safety check following the Grenfell blaze revealed cladding on their blocks could be a fire hazard.

Resident Cathy Mitchell confronted Camden council leader Georgia Gould when she visited the hotel last night, demanding to be let back into her flat “even if it is a building site… I begged her, anything would be better than this.


Kalice Cooke, a resident of the Chalcots estate (Jeremy Selwyn)

The room is airless and my daughter had to get bleach and air freshener to make it more habitable. [Ms Gould] said she couldn’t but we really want to.”

Restaurant worker Achille Congiano, who is in the Britannia with his wife Marketa, said he wanted to return to his flat: “We were put in a basement room, it was boiling. I think it was the worst room in the hotel and we did not get much sleep. I paid out of my pocket and have to claim back from the council. It was awful.”

Kalice Cooke, 30, her sister and mother were initially crammed into two small rooms along with a 14-year-old relative. She said: “It’s a disgrace. My bed is broken, we were crammed into two small rooms. I’m with my sister and my dog … I was told my dog and me were not allowed out after 11pm. The council are paying a fortune for this place but we’re being badly treated, like we are inferior.”

Britannia Hotels, which is used by the Home Office to house asylum seekers, has twice been voted the worst in Britain by Which?

Ms Gould said: “We know having to leave your home is distressing and I understand some residents are angry and upset. But the council must and will act to protect our residents.”

Britannia Hotels said: “We are working with the local council to provide urgent, temporary accommodation to evacuated residents.  We take complaints a very seriously and will work hard to resolve any issues.”

Camden council said 184 households out of 650 on the Chalcots estate had not yet left their homes. It has ordered a thousand new fire doors for blocks in the borough.

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Source : http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/evacuated-camden-residents-we-are-being-treated-as-secondclass-citizens-at-hotel-a3574131.html