Camden Council pleaded guilty to two health and safety breaches concerning the lack of fire detectors, alarms and a viable escape route at a council-maintained block of flats in which a blaze took the life of 35-year-old Magdalena Fink in November 2017. The council have been ordered to hand over £500,000 of taxpayers’ money in fines. It will also cover the £41,000 legal costs of the London Fire Brigade, who brought the prosecution.
Worse still, the council were warned in a 2013 risk assessment that the block urgently required a new fire alarm system, replacement fire doors and removal of flammable cladding on the only escape route.
Cllr Matthew Kirk of the LibDems said:
“This is a huge amount of money which could have bought a lot of benefits for Camden residents… no officer has taken responsibility for this clearly dramatic failing.”
The Camden Council member responsible for planning, regeneration, economic growth and “Camden’s ambitious council house building programme” since October 2017 is none other than Danny Beales. A councillor since May 2014, Beales’ tenure at the top has been plagued by mould, damp, and fires. Yet despite the dangerous living conditions, the Camden cabinet voted to put council home tenants’ rents up by 7% in January.
Beales is bidding to be underwhelming on the national stage as he hopes to unseat Boris Johnson at the next election…