The Independent London Newspaper
21st March 2018

Residents' anger at repair work delays for tower hit by blaze nearly six months ago

    Taplow tower

    The fire takes hold in a 17th-floor flat of the Taplow tower in Swiss Cottage

    Taplow tower

    The damage to the tower left by the blaze which started in a flat containing 'hoarded papers'

    Published: 22 May, 2012

    RESIDENTS in a tower block that was hit by a serious fire in January say they are still waiting for repair work to begin

    A blaze at the Taplow tower on Adelaide Road in Swiss Cottage caused serious damage to a flat and scarred the outside of the block – but no work has yet begun to put it right. 

    The fire broke out at 10pm on a Monday night on the 17th floor of the 22-storey block – 130 people were evacuated. 

    Fire investigators believe it was started by a candle that set light to what they described as a “huge amount” of hoarded papers. 

    But now, nearly six months later, no work has started on either the flat that was at the centre of the fire or the damage outside.

    Tenants Association chairman Zak Osmani, who discovered the blaze and called the Fire Brigade out as it took hold, said people living in the council-owned block were getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of action.

    He said: “It looks horrendous. We are not asking for the flat to be refurbished – that is down to the council, as it’s theirs to rent out. 

    “But the outside looks really bad, really horrid. It's as if a bomb has hit it.”

    Four years ago Taplow was at the centre of a massive refurbishment programme that saw the grey concrete and grotty exterior re-clad in new, high-tech insulation panels. 

    Mr Osmani said: “It did look lovely after the work Camden had done, and we have put a real effort into improving Taplow, with a gardening club, and keeping the place clean. This has really set us back.”

    He added that because of wrangles with the council’s insurance company, they had been warned not to expect any work to be done before the end of 2012.

    Mr Osmani added: “They have told us there’ll be no work until the end of the year. It is very frustrating as when the work was done four years ago, we were told they had all the bits and pieces if anything should go wrong. But it seems they do not have the power to get on with it.” 

    The Town Hall have said the cost of the work will not be known until it is completed, and said work has started on repairing the block. 

    A Camden Council spokesperson said: “The fire at Taplow caused damage to a number of areas of the building. We are working to restore these areas as quickly as possible, with the first stage of repairs currently underway and due to be completed in the next four to six weeks. We will continue to keep residents informed of our progress.”




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