Proposal for a Resident -Led Housing Inquiry
Following the recent fire on Barking Riverside and concerns raised before and after with regards to issues of safety and responsiveness from hosing management, the Barking Reach Residents Association believes that an independent resident-led inquiry should take place in order to ensure residents have dignity, power and that their voices are heard.
The day after the fire on Samuel Garside House, the association had contact with an independent building surveyor and fire expert, who carried out a brief inspection of a mirror building to the one that burned down, Ernest Websdale House on Harlequin Close.
This independent fire expert immediately found numerous faults and hazards:
- Gaps under fire doors
- Jammed fire doors
- Thickness of wood used around door frames were not think enough
- Exposed electric wires
- Faulty access doors
- Poor exit signage
- Faulty fire control panel
- Damaged smoke vents
The enquiry would speak to local residents to document their experiences and also call on wider technical and policy expertise. The residents’ association would help three public meetings:
- Testimony – scope out issues
- Solutions – outline research findings as a response to testimonies and draw on expertise opinion
- Recommendations – to present a final report back
The inquiry would start immediately if there is support for this proposal in the first instance via the BRRA officers and a future resident meeting. It is envisaged that a report would be completed over a six-month period and that it is part of a resident charter.
The final report will include recommendations to the following involved parties:
- London Borough of Barking & Dagenham
- Developer and related housing management contractors
The residents’ association will be supported by the Thames Ward Community Project, a local network, in sourcing examples, resident testimony and advice.