Last week the Enquirer asked some questions of Clarion Housing Group about the situation at Clare House and we received answers last night.
You can see our questions and Clarion’s answers below.
Q1 When was Clarion Housing Group aware that there might be a serious problem at Clare House?
Q2 When did they take action and what was this action?
Q3 When did they receive any report about this issue?
A Following receipt of the new advice, we made significant preparations for the decant of all residents from the building. This was a major logistical operation involving 120 households. The 29th September was the earliest we could begin in order to ensure an orderly process. At all times the building has had a 24 hour waking watch in operation, which continues today.
Clarion has commissioned a series of intrusive reviews into Clare House since 2019, with each one incrementally broadening the scope of our investigation.
While Clarion progressed its investigations at Clare House it put in place a waking watch, sprinklers and a new alarm system to mitigate against any increased risk of a fire. All of these are still in place today.
Clarion continued with further intrusive inspections and the new report we received from an engineering advisory consultancy on 17th September is what changed our approach. That report provided new information on the fire resistance of the Large Panel System (LPS) and when all the risk factors were considered holistically, the advice changed on the risk to the building – meaning we had to move to decant as soon as possible.
Q Are there any other Clarion Housing Group properties in Tower Hamlets that have similar problems?
Q5 Have London Fire Brigade had communications with Clarion Housing Group about fire and safety issues at Clare House?
A We have kept the London Fire Brigade updated as our investigations progressed and remain in close contact.
Q6 Why has Clarion Housing Group consistently refused to be open with Cllr Marc Francis and Tower Hamlets Council about Clare House fire and safety issues?
A This is not the case, we meet regularly with Cllr Marc Francis, and other senior Tower Hamlets councillors and officers. They are fully briefed on the situation and we are in daily contact.
Q7 Is it correct that Clarion Housing Group wanted residents out by 1st October 2021 as home loss payments increase on that date? Regulation 2(3) increases the amount of home loss payment under section 30(2) of the Act from £6,500 to £7,100. The revised amounts apply where the date of displacement is on or after 1st October 2021.
A This is absolutely not the case and we categorically refute this suggestion. We are driven by the safety and wellbeing of our residents above all else. We will be paying the increased rate.
No doubt some will questions these answers but at least we are getting them and there will be more questions to come.
Many thanks to the numerous residents commenting on this story, it is much appreciated.
Note: We should say that it is the exception rather than the rule that organisations, including the Council, answer questions this quickly so thanks to the Clarion Housing Group people for this. It makes a big difference in us getting information to you.