Octavia Housing and Vistry had not come to a “realistic agreement” over replacement of unsafe cladding

Octavia Housing and Vistry had yet to come to an agreement over replacing unsafe cladding at a Wembley tower block when a fire broke out and spread at the accommodation on Monday evening (29 January).

elm road

Source: London Fire Brigade

A fire broke out at Petworth Court, in Elm Road, Wembley on Monday evening after concerns were raised about cladding on the building

Octavia has said that the block, Petworth Court, in Elm Road, Wembley, has external cladding, which it has been looking to get removed.

A statement shared by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said that the fire that broke out at Petworth Court on Monday evening damaged half of the external side of the building, all of the roof and four external balconies.

The LFB said the fire was reported at 4.42pm on the 29 January, and it took until 10:01pm to bring the fire under control.

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The MP for Brent North, Barry Gardiner MP, said that he has been corresponding with Octavia Housing about fire hazards at the block since April 2023.

It is understood that on 2 November last year, Gardiner called an urgent meeting with Octavia Housing’s chief executive Sandra Skeete.

A statement on Octavia’s website said: “Octavia staff have been on site since Monday working closely with, Brent council’s emergency response team and other agencies to support residents and provide temporary accommodation until they are able to return home.

“We are working closely with the London Fire Brigade and our contractors to assess the damage and carry out necessary repairs.”

Regarding reaching a remediation agreement, a Vistry Group spokesperson said: “We can’t comment on the specific details. However, we have been working with the building owner and will continue to do so to help ensure works are completed on-site as necessary. We are continuing to engage with all parties as a matter of urgency to put in place the appropriate arrangements.”

Kevin Bolt, interim CEO of Octavia, said: “On Monday 29 January 2024 a fire broke out at Petworth Court in Wembley. Our thoughts are with everyone who was affected and we apologise for the obvious distress and disruption the fire has caused. We’re thankful that all residents were evacuated safely and no injuries have been reported. The safety of our residents is our highest priority. Petworth Court has robust safety measures in place in the event of a fire, including a fire marshal and upgraded alarms and CCTV and regular patrols. We’re pleased that these measures worked effectively in raising the alarm early to ensure all residents could evacuate swiftly. We are working closely with the London Fire Brigade as they investigate the cause of the fire, and will continue to support our residents who have been affected with emergency accommodation and financial support.”