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MP pressures companies after fire as residents put in 'outrageous' situation

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 July 2019

Samuel Garside House covered in scaffolding. Picture: Luke Acton.

Samuel Garside House covered in scaffolding. Picture: Luke Acton.

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The situation facing residents affected by the Barking flats fire is "outrageous and inhumane" according to Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge.

Samuel Garside House in De Pass Gardens at Barking Riverside was extensively damaged in the blaze. Picture: Andrew Brookes.Samuel Garside House in De Pass Gardens at Barking Riverside was extensively damaged in the blaze. Picture: Andrew Brookes.

Dame Margaret has now written to the building's managers Residential Management Group to try and ensure that residents who don't feel safe moving back into the building don't have to.

She said: "It is outrageous and inhumane that residents of Samuel Garside House are being forced to move back into a building which is clearly unsafe and not fit for human habitation.

"The insurers, the developers and the managing agents are all failing to show appropriate care.

"Many of the residents are still traumatised by the fire and have all experienced weeks of distress. They do not deserve this shocking treatment and must receive the support they so desperately need."

She has also brought up residents' concerns that much of the untreated wood cladding that burned on June 9 is still on the building.

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Some residents faced returning home on Saturday, July 27 as insurance that paid for hotels and other accommodation ended. But many had funding for hotels and other accommodation extended until August 3.

Dame Margaret also brought up concerns that the company that carried out the fire risk assessments has connections to RMG.

She said it was "a flagrant case of stakeholders betraying the trust of residents and 'marking their own homework'."

A spokesman for the representatives of the owner, HomeGround, said that Osterna is a third party specialist risk assessor and its reports were reviewed by the landlord specialist independent fire safety consultant, adding: "There is absolutely no basis to question either the independence or integrity of these actions."

The spokesman said: "We are continually in communication with the building insurers to make sure that no resident has alternative accommodation funding removed unless and until their apartment is properly habitable.

"As of Monday, of the 27 apartments scheduled to return first, residents of nine apartments have either moved back in, or will be moving back in imminently following inspections and completed remedial works to their properties.

"Residents of the other 18 apartments have had alternative accommodation cover extended to August 3, whilst inspections and further cleaning and repair works are taking place, overseen by the independent surveyors Thomasons."

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