‘Major cracks’ found on south London tower blocks

Hamish Champ

Arup hired to carry out ‘detailed investigations’ into damage, says Southwark council

Residents at four 13-storey tower blocks have called on Southwark council to begin urgent and lasting repair work after cracks were found throughout parts of the buildings on the Ledbury estate in south London.

Arup has been drafted in to carry out investigation work after residents complained of cracks appearing in ceilings, floors, walls within flats and between neighbouring properties. Council representatives met with residents of the Peckham estate yesterday (Sunday) to hear their concerns.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, residents said they were worried about the cracks, which they believed could see fire spread through them from one floor to the next, and had raised concerns, particularly if they need to be evacuated from affected buildings while further remedial work is undertaken.

Following the meeting, councillor Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing at Southwark, said it was carrying out inspections to four towers on the Ledbury Estate.

She said: “We acted immediately on the London Fire Brigade’s advice, visiting each block and carrying out on-the-spot repairs, as well as bringing in 24-hour fire wardens to patrol the blocks.

“We have now instructed building firm Arup to carry out detailed investigations about what we need to do to fix this structural issue longer term and they are onsite today. As soon as we have a clear picture of what is required, we will let residents know immediately.

“At this time of heightened awareness about fire safety we are grateful to tenants for alerting us to emerging issues and if anyone has a similar concern regarding their block, they should contact us immediately.”

The four towers at the Ledbury estate feature 56 flats per block and are believed to be home to around 200 people per block. They were commissioned and built in the mid-1960s by the then-GLC and were understood to have been constructed using a prefabricated system involving concrete panels faced in Norfolk flint.

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