Rabina Khan: 'Put Punch and Judy politics aside to ensure fire safety'

Damage to the 19-storey tower block in New Providence Wharf

Damage to the 19-storey tower block in New Providence Wharf - Credit: PA Images

Wednesday, July 21 was a big day for leaseholders nationally and locally, as the Commons debated the Building Safety Bill.

We saw the best of Tower Hamlets in the council chamber. The May 7 fire at New Providence Wharf in Blackwall was a wake-up call.

I moved a motion to address the lack of a tall ladder for our high-rise community – a borough already home to the Hong Kong of Europe in the Isle of Dogs and which approves big blocks of flats all the time.

Cllr Rabina Khan is opposed to potential library closures.

Rabina Khan moved a motion to address the lack of an aerial ladder for the borough - Credit: Archant

Residents should not have to wait up to 20 minutes for an aerial appliance to be delivered from Dagenham or Old Kent Road in the event of a fire.

We must intensify our efforts to protect leaseholders and other flat occupiers by working closely with the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to ensure it has the resources and funding it needs.

In the same way the Freemasons recently donated £2m for 64m ladders to be procured for the LFB in the City of London, our council, which presides over £1m of unspent developer money (enough to buy one of these ladders) for the New Providence Wharf scheme alone, can take a leadership role.

When the parties on our council put Punch and Judy politics aside and work together, as we have done on the leasehold scandal and building safety crisis, we can achieve great things.

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I am thrilled that mayor John Biggs and Eve McQuillan have heeded my calls and those of councillors Peter Golds and Andrew Wood to pursue this as an issue.

All residents - be they leaseholders, renters or social tenants in high- and medium-rise buildings - would benefit from this life-saving infrastructure.

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