Barking fire residents petition government for stricter cladding ban
PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 September 2019
In the wake of another huge fire at a wood-clad block of flats in south-west London, residents affected by the Barking fire are appealing for government action.
The fire in Worcester Park, Sutton, destroyed 23 homes on Monday, September 9, exactly three months after the Samuel Garside House fire.
Residents of Samuel Garside are now petitioning the government to ban combustible cladding on all residential buildings. The current ban - put in place after Grenfell - only covers buildings more than 18 metres tall.
The residents want the law to cover all buildings, regardless of height, and they want it to be applied retrospectively. This means cladding already on residential buildings would have to be torn down.
Serena Madhvani started the petition. Her home was in the worst-hit block in the Barking fire. She is currently living in temporary accommodation in Canning Town.
"It just doesn't feel like home does it? But I'm getting there slowly," she said.
"I was devastated. You don't think it's going to happen to you until you're standing there, in front of the building, and realise it is happening.
"You can't know it until you've experienced it."
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Ms Madhvani wants to re-capture the call to action that sparked immediately after the fire on June 9.
"I feel like there's been a little bit of a lull [in the response to the Barking fire]," she added.
"When it happened, everyone rallied together. But then time moved on and people got on with their lives. It only affects people that it's actually happened to."
She accused the government of allowing architects and property developers to build properties that are unsafe and wants tighter regulations.
"We just think, if something isn't done soon, there will be a fatality.
"It needs to be changed at a government level.
"It needs to be a retrospective ban.
"A change in law would save life."
Currently, the petition has just under 200 signatures. It needs 10,000 to get a response from government and 100,000 signatures for a debate in Parliament.
The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for comment.