Lewisham Homes suspends fire safety work after outcry from residents

By Grainne Cuffe, local democracy reporter

Lewisham Homes is suspending fire safety works on an estate in Deptford following an outcry from residents over surges in Covid-19 cases.

Lewisham Council’s housing manager is carrying out major fire safety works on blocks on the Pepys Estate, with workers from four different contractors going in and out of homes. 

Workers are checking doors, walls, floors, ceilings, and electrical and plumbing installations, while checking homes are fire safety compliant. 

Lewisham Homes insisted until yesterday that the works needed to be carried out as a “matter of urgency in order to improve the fire safety of our residents and their homes”. 

But amid rising coronavirus cases residents voiced concern about the number of construction workers coming in and out.  

Cases in Lewisham have surged in the past two weeks, with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people. 

On Sunday, the UK recorded a further 54,940 cases and 563 deaths. The latest Government figures show that University Hospital Lewisham has 408 Covid-19 patients, with 35 on ventilation. 

Today Lewisham Homes backtracked and said it would suspend work inside homes and communal areas with some exceptions.  

A spokesperson said: “Although the government has indicated construction and maintenance works should continue, we have taken the decision to suspend works inside our residents’ homes and communal areas, with some exceptions.  

“The safety of residents, staff and contractors remains our top priority. 

“We will continue with some essential fire safety works where it is our statutory requirement to proceed or where we believe the Covid-19 situation and lockdowns have increased the urgency of these works.  

“Where works are taking place, strict Covid-safe procedures will be followed, such as using tented enclosure systems and observing the Covid-19 safe operating procedures developed in line with government, health and safety executive (HSE) and construction leadership council guidance.  

“Our environment team is also putting additional safeguards in place to help keep residents and staff safe and we will continue to review our services in response to any changes in government guidance.” 



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