Save social housing’s heritage, make estates safe!
Save social housing’s heritage, make estates safe!
Why this petition matters
Tenants of the neglected, historic Kensal House estate are urging the council responsible for nearby Grenfell Tower to fulfil their access and safety duties and compensate for statutory failures:
1. Fix leaks, floods and damp before 2025
Class Act at Kensal House reveals chronic floods, leaks, damp and water damage which have been ignored from pipes, roof and windows for 17 years. Those who live and work in Kensal House estate are being failed by their landlord, RBKC council. RBKC’s Executive Director of Housing and Social Investment at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea committed on ITV news to ‘bring forward the window works and do everything we can to get the pipes in as good a shape as we can’ Tenants are calling for the landlord they share with Grenfell to replace the windows, pipework and roof waterproofing and install ventilation before 2025, starting immediately. They want compensationfor continued exposure to mould, floods and leaks if this deadline is missed.
2. Compensate for statutory failures' delaying community refurbishment
RBKC jeopardised £2.6m of public funding by failing to fix leaks and floods at SPID Theatre, the award winning charity is based in Kensal House Community Rooms. The council committed to remedying the pipework flooding SPID Theatre by August 2021 but failed to do so. Repeatedly postponing and holding works on standby cost the charity in delays. Floods persisted even after SPID’s refurbishment finally began in June 22, prompting the charity to take on RBKC for housing justice. SPID is calling to be compensated for increased contractor costs and having to keep their capital team on hold whilst waiting a year for RBKC to do their job.
3. Pay access costs
RBKC is obliged by DDA legislation to provide disabled access. Sending wheelchair users through the car park or round the back of Kensal House estate dangerously breaches this. Having granted planning permission for SPID Theatre to install a lift, the council must cover the costs.
4. Replace lead water piping
RBKC is obliged to provide Kensal House estate with safe water. SPID Theatre's works have revealed that the council uses unsuitable lead water piping, which they must pay to move and replace.
5. Compensate for statutory duty failures
Tenants of Kensal House have suffered repeated flooding, leaks, damp and water damage, making some or all of each property unsafe for use for long periods of time. The council has admitted negligence to SPID Theatre, and offered compensation. The charity, whose members and board include both Kensal residents and those displaced by Grenfell, is calling on the council to compensate all tenants for six years of exposure to chronic ongoing negligence, in addition to compensation for those who suffered special and health damages.
During the refurbishment the council relocated SPID to nearby Treverton Tower Estate's Community Rooms, where chronic flooding also persists. In taking class action, tenants seek to expose the extent of RBKC Housing's systemic negligence:
Co chairs of Kensal House Residents Association Cordelia Cembrowicz and Mobisher Ali:
Infrastructure has been neglected for years at Kensal House and it is deeply unfair to expect residents to live in such conditions. We urge the council to bring their capital works program forward to eradicate damp and leaks and are calling for compensation for all those affected.
SPID’s Co Chair Naomi Israel, lost friends to Grenfell:
I am proud to be taking legal action against RBKC for their negligence of Kensal. I sadly lost friends who were killed in the Grenfell fire tragedy. I have first hand witnessed how our landlord's systemic nature of neglect and its effect on Kensal over the years I have attended SPID. The fact that SPID’s boards now include Kensal House Residents Association members as well as those displaced by Grenfell shows our solidarity in fighting negligence.
Kensal House Residents Association Vice Chair Salim Chowdhury:
I am one of several Kensal House Residents Association members who sit on SPID’s board. RBKC promised they would finally bring Kensal House estate up to standard by the end of SPID’s refurbishment. We must stand together and stand firm now or the council will never do their job. We all need windows, pipes and roof that are fit for purpose. We have all suffered in silence for too long. Thanks to SPID for this chance to do get justice for Kensal House, the films they make and press they get all help the cause. My windows are completely gone – I have to put towels down, all the sealants are black. We need new windows as well as ventilation systems.
Refurbishment project board member and Kensal resident Anita Williams:
Housing continue to neglect Kensal House estate and delay SPID’s refurbishment by failing in its statutory repair and safety duties to stop damp, leaks and floods following decades of investment programs – yet they have replaced windows and stack pipes on local estates; it’s time they did right by Kensal, whether we rent or lease live or work here we are all tired of being fobbed off by our landlord.
SPID trustee Sylvia Akajioyi, displaced by Kensal floods:
I am grateful to SPID for their support in getting rehoused. Its down to their legal action that my family no longer live in sewage water. So far the compensation offered us is unacceptable. I am pleased that the MP has said she supports us. We need to act together to get justice for what we’ve been through.
SPID’s Co Chair, displaced by Grenfell, Sophia Ollivierre:
RBKC continue to fail in their statutory duties to Kensal tenants, including SPID and residents. Its vital we unite to hold them to account. Suing them will ensure they finally fix Kensal’s leaks, floods and damp and compensate all affected tenants. RBKC are currently offering compensation to families like mine over Grenfell so the time is now.
Greater London Authority:
RBKC's agreed work to fix and prevent the leaks at SPID remain outstanding and becomes urgent...The project has had significant delays already