Tenants flee as building starts to collapse


[from Hackney Gazette]

Tenants flee as building starts to collapse

06 June 2008
A massive framework of scaffolding holds up the building
A massive framework of scaffolding holds up the building

TERRIFIED flat dwellers made homeless after fears the terraced house in which they live could collapse like a pack of cards faced a prolonged stay in a hotel this week.

Tenants of the three-storey house converted into flats in Gloucester Drive, Finsbury Park – among them a seven-and-a half month pregnant woman and an 80-year-old man – were forced to flee the building in an emergency evacuation, along with families in the property next door.

They had been given just one minute to get out amid fears the entire building would come crashing down burying them under tons of rubble.

Builders employed by the private owner to excavate beneath the house and create a new three-bedroom basement flat are thought to have weakened the foundations

Since the evacuation a fortnight ago, part of Gloucester Drive and Princess Crescent has been shut to pedestrians and traffic with detours in place because huge scaffolding needed to shore-up the structurally unsafe building is blocking the roads.

The six tenants from the house have spent part of the last two weeks staying in a £90-a-night hotel in Shoreditch paid for by their landlord.

The four tenants in the neighbouring property were also put up in the hotel for a week, but allowed back to their homes last week.

But they will have to move out again for the next fortnight while the unsafe building is demolished and will be put up in the £60-a-night Castello Palace Hotel in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park.

There has been 24-hour security guarding the homes for the past fortnight to prevent looting,

This week Hackney Council said its structural engineers and the Health and Safety Executive had examined the building and concluded it was too dangerous to enter.

The owners of the property this week decided to demolish it..

The cavernous hole that builders had dug beneath the property which caused the problem will then be filled in with crushed concrete.

The company which owns the property, Provewell Ltd, were unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts by the Gazette to contact them.


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