Sprinklers

Wandsworth Council wants to install sprinklers in all tower blocks of 10 or more storeys.

Before the Council begins, it is asking the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) who should pay for this in the case of Leasehold properties – the council or Leaseholders. Because the Conservative government won’t foot the bill, each Leaseholder could be presented with a bill in the region of £3,000 to £4,000

Wandsworth Labour supports the installation of sprinklers for residents who want them, but we don’t think it’s fair that Leasehold residents will be forced to pay, or Tenants have them imposed, without the Council properly consulting them. We think residents should make their own decision on a block by block basis and want the Council to give priority to all other aspects of fire safety in Council managed homes.

We are calling on Wandsworth Council to conduct a meaningful consultation process so residents can make their own decision on a block by block basis about whether they want sprinklers.

Sprinkler campaign update – November 2018

Wandsworth Council continues to argue for water sprinklers in all blocks of 10 storeys or more where it is the freeholder. Leaseholders will be charged around £4,000 for this work and it will pay out at least £24m from council revenues.

There is a lack of clarity around these plans and especially after the case was brought to a First Tier Tribunal and a “Case Management” hearing was held to decide how this Tribunal was managed.

As such, the Wandsworth Labour Party will be holding a meeting to try to update all affected residents.

Public Meeting

On Sunday 4th November from 7pm at the Alma Pub, 499 York Road, SW18 1TF.

All residents are very welcome, including Council Tenants and Leaseholders.

The meeting will be Chaired by Councillor White, Labour Housing Speaker, and others from the Labour team will also be there. We are very pleased Councillor Grimston will join us, along with Mark Eaton, the solicitor who is working with a group of Leaseholders, and the Leaseholder Advisory Service (LEASE).

Issues that will be addressed will include:

  • Update on process
  • Legal support
  • Leaseholder advice
  • Next steps

We would like to reach as many people as possible, so we would be really grateful if you could help us let people in your blocks know please.

First Tier Tribunal Update

Over 100 leaseholders turned up at the Town Hall Civic Suite for the Case Management Hearing of the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) on 16 October. The Council has asked the Tribunal to rule on whether they have the legal right to force sprinklers (and their cost) on to leaseholders against their will.

The main take away was that the FTT advised the Council that it had to produce a more detailed outline of its case, agreeing that what had been provided so far is inadequate, in the 6 to 8 weeks after the Case Management hearing.

The residents’ case was put very effectively by a legal team, led by solicitor Mark Eaton, instructed by a group of 11 residents who clubbed together to fund the presentations at this meeting. There were also strong representations from Cllr Claire Gilbert (Roehampton), Helen Chantry (Doddington West Residents Association), Malcolm Grimston (West Hill), Joe Cairns (Alton) and others.

A preliminary hearing is likely in February but there may be a fuller one after that. As of this morning when Cllr Gilbert spoke to the First Tier Tribunal, there have been no new directions from the Tribunal. We hope to have these before Sunday’s meeting.

You can contact the Labour and Independent Team on their emails:

Cllr. Paul White (Tooting) cllr.p.white@wandsworth.gov.uk

Cllr. Claire Gilbert (Roehampton) cllr.c.gilbert@wandsworth.gov.uk

Cllr. Angela Ireland (West Hill) cllr.a.ireland@wandsworth.gov.uk

Cllr. Maurice McLeod (Queenstown) cllr.m.mcleod@wandsworth.gov.uk

Cllr. Emily Wintle (St Marys Park) cllr.e.wintle@wandsworth.gov.uk

Cllr. Kate Stock (Latchmere) cllr.k.stock@wandsworth.gov.uk