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Grenfell: Mayor refuses to review fire safety of proposed tower blocks –

Sadiq Khan dismisses request, claiming new buildings are ‘safer’

Tottenham block built in 2015 has same cladding as Grenfell Tower

No sprinklers proposed in 17-storey Harrow development

Sadiq Khan has refused to review fire safety on two proposed tower blocks despite growing concern in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The Mayor was asked to look again at plans for the 17-storey and 21-storey developments in Harrow and Haringey, which he controversially approved last year despite local objection.

The Harrow application does not feature any plans for a sprinkler system and a local petition asking the Mayor to reconsider his approval has gathered 90 signatures.

Sadiq Khan was asked by London Assembly member Susan Hall to review the fire safety of the applications at Mayor’s Question Time.

But he arrogantly dismissed her concerns and claimed he was ‘surprised’ at the question because ‘new buildings are much safer than the old ones’.

It has since emerged that a Tottenham tower block built in 2015 features similar cladding to that used on Grenfell Tower.

Speaking after the meeting, Assembly Member Hall said:

"The Mayor’s dismissal of genuine public concerns in the wake of such an appalling tragedy is astonishing.

“Not only did he point-blank refuse to even look again at the safety features on these tower blocks, his reasons for not doing so are entirely ill-informed.

“Londoners deserve a Mayor that will listen when legitimate fears about public safety are raised and I once again urge him to put residents’ minds at rest and review the safety of these blocks.”


View the exchange at Mayor's Question Time here

Full transcript:

Susan Hall: Despite making much of listening to residents requests and desires, in March you approved a 17-storey building in Harrow and a 21-storey building in Haringey, against the express wishes of the local councils and of course the residents. Local residents are now extremely concerned about the safety of these towers, following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. Will you therefore urgently review these decisions to ensure they are still fit for purpose and will not pose a fire safety risk either now or in the future.

Sadiq Khan: I’m surprised by your question because you should know, as an experienced councillor, that new blocks are different from old blocks, from refurbs. And you’ll know, as an experienced councillor, which is why I’m surprised by your question, that the requirements for new blocks are different to old blocks…

SH: …Yes I accept that and this was a quick question for you to ask. There’s certainly evidence in the information that Haringey is going to have sprinklers but not so in any of the documents that we can find in Harrow. You shouldn’t be surprised by that question because this is going against what the local residents want, in fact Assembly Member Shah voted against this, or rather expressed his desire not to have this, so you shouldn’t be surprised by these questions because if you say you’re a listening Mayor then you need to listen to what the local residents want and they certainly didn’t want this in Harrow and I don’t think they wanted it in Haringey.

SK: Well I listen to Londoners and I’m sorry you don’t realise this but Londoners want affordable housing. London’s population is growing. Unless we meet London’s need to provide genuinely affordable homes, numbers are going to struggle and the big issue for London is housing and because I listen to Londoners I’m providing affordable housing. And the fact is that inquiry was had, we looked at all the evidence and decided to approve the plans, affordable housing for local residents, regeneration of that area, taking on board some of their concerns. But I’m surprised you don’t realise the new buildings are much safer than the old ones and those refurbished.