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Ledbury’s sibling Aintree Estate in Hammersmith & Fulham facing similar crisis

It has been revealed that a further two Taylor Woodrow Anglian Large Panel System tower blocks built as part of the ‘Morris Walk Series’ (a programme to build 1800 flats in inner London boroughs under the GLC) are facing the same issues as the Ledbury Estate.

At a Southwark Council Housing Scrutiny Committee meeting held on Wednesday 31st January 2018 at Southwark Tooley Street Headquarters, Southwark’s Head Of Engineering Tony Hunter revealed that the Southwark team had met with their Hammersmith and Fulham counterparts the day before (Tuesday 30th January) and reported to the Scrutiny panel on the predicament Hammersmith & Fulham are facing in relation to their two TWA tower blocks; Hartopp and Lannoy points, on the Aintree Estate.

Full transcript:

Lockhart Murdoch (Open Communities): “I’m Lockhart Murdoch from Open Communities, Independent resident advisors. I was here at Decembers’ Scrutiny and we mentioned there that Hammersmith and Fulham has discovered two TWA blocks and they had to introduce 24 hour wardens et cetera, and we raised the question then whether Southwark officers could make contact with their counterparts in Hammersmith and Fulham to see if they actually had original drawings, because you ((Southwark)) didn’t have them and I wonder if anything had been done in relation to links with Hammersmith and discussion with them?” Cllr. Tom Flynn (Housing Scrutiny Chair Southwark Council): “I’ve got two hands up. The gentlemen here” David Markham (Head of Asset Management Southwark Council): “We’ve had a number of contacts from different local authorities as far away as Rugby, and further and ((turning to Tony Hunter)) I think Hammersmith and Fulham this week?” Tony Hunter (Head of Engineering Southwark Council): “We met with them yesterday ((Tuesday 30th January)) They’re in a similar position to us, insofar-as they’re being advised that the strengthening that they’d expect to see, isn’t there and they are making, or in the process of making similar decisions to those that we are faced with today.”  

These statements have far reaching implications for other TWA tower blocks. Aintree Estate was supposedly strengthened in the late 60’s/ early 70’s following the Ronan Point inquiry, as well as undergoing a programme of ‘tensile wiring’ to further strengthen in the 80’s. Aintree has never had a piped gas supply. What these comments imply is that Aintree also possibly fails to meet the building regulations, in the same way as Ledbury Estate. 

Hammersmith and Fulham had employed 24 hour fire marshals to patrol the Aintree Estate, following the issues on the Ledbury, and in relation to complaints that their own residents were raising of cracks in their flats - similar to those found at Ledbury.  It is understood that Hammersmith and Fulham also employed the expertise of ARUP engineers to undertake tests related to strength of the panels and risk of disproportionate collapse. 

We are seeking to confirm the statements made with Hammersmith and Fulham directly. In an email the Leader Of Hammersmith and Fulham Council Stephen Cowan stated:

‘I can comment on Aintree Estate and can assure you that we have hired the best possible experts to advise us on this and ensure our residents complete safety. We have also worked closely with other agencies such as the London Fire Brigade. We have held meetings as well as communicating directly with residents about all the matters concerned and will continue to do so.’ 

We await further information as the situation at Aintree Estate develops.

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