Statement about the fire in Barking
The fire in Barking was at a development built by Bellway, and this is worrying. Is Riverside going to continue working with Bellway in Lambeth?
We completely understand your concerns and we want to reassure you that the safety of you and your family is our absolute priority. We do not know the cause of the fire in Barking yet. A full investigation is underway and once that is complete, we will scrutinise its findings and incorporate any recommendations it makes. We will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of everyone living on the new Lambeth estate.
How will you make sure the new estate is fire safe?
The new estate will be built to the new regulations being brought in following the Grenfell tragedy, and using the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt who investigated the Grenfell fire. We will also use any learning that comes from this incident.
We work hard to make sure our homes meet the highest fire safety standards, and that we fulfil all of our responsibilities to keep customers safe. Fire safety will be key feature in the design and construction of homes on the new Lambeth estate. We will be working closely with our advisors at London Fire Brigade to ensure that these homes offer fire safety through design and into management.
Detailed designs are still being worked up in consultation with residents before being submitted for planning permission, at which point they will be rigorously scrutinised by the local authority. Residents will also, of course, be invited to scrutinise every detail of these plans with the support of Source Partnership, the Independent Tenants’ Adviser.
I’ve heard that the smoke alarms and sprinklers in the flats in Barking were not working. What will you do to make sure this doesn’t happen in Lambeth?
We will not pre-empt the findings of the investigation into the fire at Barking. We understand all the affected households were safely evacuated.
We already carry out regular fire safety assessments at properties on the Lambeth estate – and this, of course, will continue. We communicate with residents on a regular basis to make sure they understand the fire safety and evacuation procedures relevant to their property.
The development in Barking was originally managed by a social housing provider (L&Q) and then sold to a private company – is that what you intend to do in Lambeth?
Firstly, although the estate in Barking is known as “Barking Riverside”, this name is a coincidence. The Riverside Group has not had any involvement in this development.
The redevelopment of the Lambeth estate will see us make a long-term commitment to the area. Your safety will be an ongoing priority for us, as we continue to manage your home and the estate for many years to come.
Did you know about Bellway’s previous fire safety record when you chose them as a partner?
As an ethical business with a commitment to creating better places to live, we take the safety of our residents very seriously. This is something that featured strongly in our procurement strategy to select a development partner.
All contractors had to pass minimum standards and were assessed on their approach to health and safety as part of the evaluation.
We are keeping in close contact with Bellway as the fire investigation continues and will ensure that any findings and lessons from this tragic event are fully shared and taken on board.