29/11/2017 London News


29/11/2017

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LineFromTo

Here on BBC One it's time

for the news where you are.

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A very good evening.

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London's housing crisis

is one of the biggest

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challenges facing our city.

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Today, as the Mayor set

out his vision for the capital,

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he outlined how he'll tackle

the shortage of homes.

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Sadiq Khan says he'll rip up

existing planning rules in order

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to meet his target of building

65,000 homes a year -

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half of them affordable.

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And it could mean bigger housing

developments being built

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in suburban town centres.

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Here's our political

editor, Tim Donovan.

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The station at Twickenham,

home of English rugby,

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is finally being redeveloped.

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But of the 115 homes to be

built here, precisely

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none will be affordable,

a concession granted so the scheme

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could be finished in time

for the World Cup in 2015.

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At the time, the planning committee

were pressured to accept

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a scheme with no affordable,

because they wanted the development

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to be completed in time

for the Rugby World Cup.

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You will notice...

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In time for that?

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That we are not quite on schedule.

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Very disappointing,

very disappointing.

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It seems absurd to me that

you couldn't provide some level

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of affordable on a site this big.

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It just really is a question of,

are you prepared to build

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at a high enough density?

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Are councils like Richmond,

with among the lowest building

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rates in the capital,

now in the Mayor's sights?

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You've got to make more

of opportunities like this

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when they arise, believes the Mayor.

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Build higher, certainly

here in the suburbs,

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create more density.

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And because this is a station,

it's a chance to change behaviour.

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You can insist on fewer

cars by allowing fewer

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car parking spaces.

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Today he chose Barking Riverside,

the biggest regeneration project

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in Europe, to outline his plans.

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Experts have told him the capital

needs 43,000 affordable new homes

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to be built each year.

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He wants more small-scale

developers involved,

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and the current restrictions

on density, how many homes that can

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be squeezed onto sites, lifted.

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What I'm saying to developers,

what I'm saying to councils,

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what I'm saying to housing

associations is, it is possible,

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with good design, to meet

the needs of Londoners.

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That means high-density,

good-quality homes.

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What about outer London

in particular - is that where

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there's been the failure to now?

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All councils will have targets,

all councils will know

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what the expectations are.

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Outer London, as well as in London,

and inner London had problems

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around infrastructure.

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One of the reasons we are here

in Barking Riverside is to see

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the difference having

infrastructure can make.

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If outer London boroughs

have the assistance they need,

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I'm sure they can build good

quality, high density homes.

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But to his opponents,

it's a threat to the suburbs.

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Outer London is going to be made

to look like inner London.

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Now, people live in the suburbs

because they like it,

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because it's greener,

because there's more space.

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And what he's actually

done is he has declared

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war on outer London.

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As a result of all these policies,

it's going to be browner,

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more overcrowded and hard

to get around.

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The mayor has pledged to strengthen

protection for the greenbelt.

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That went down well

here in Ilford today.

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What we did here, we got loads

and loads of people,

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thousands of people involved.

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Chris led a campaign to fight off

plans to turn the 60

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acres of playing fields

into a housing estate.

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As far as we're concerned,

it's now saved.

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The council have taken the plan off

the shelf and said, that's no good,

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we are saving Oakfield for sport

and for the community.

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But the local council, Redbridge,

still wants to reclassify and build

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on a tenth of its green belt,

saying it's the only way

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to provide the houses needed.

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Every available means should be used

to build new homes, says the Mayor.

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Clashes over location, type

and scale seems certain to follow.

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On average, 100 families are evicted

from their homes every day

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in London and the South East.

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We've spoken to two families

who say they feel helpless

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and confused by the system.

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Now charities are calling

on councils to intervene earlier

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to support people in social housing

struggling to manage

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their money before it reaches

the point of homelessness.

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Chris Rogers reports.

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Tomorrow morning, this

family could be homeless.

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They have been evicted.

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They have nowhere to go.

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So, this is all of your belongings?

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Yes.

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And you haven't unpacked?

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No, I haven't.

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There's little point

in unpacking when you know

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an eviction notice is coming.

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This is my eviction letter.

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Your temporary accommodation

at the above address

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will end on Thursday,

the 30th of November.

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Michael and Alison were

evicted from their social

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housing home in Islington.

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They fell thousands

of pounds behind in rent.

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The council offered them this

house, 20 miles away,

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in Purfleet, in Essex.

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It says that it is your

fault you are homeless.

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Yes, that is not true.

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They say they're struggling

to understand the system,

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their rights and obtain

the paperwork needed

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to get housing benefit.

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Alison has mental health problems

and can rarely leave the house.

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Michael is struggling to get work

and focuses on taking

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care of the children.

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So, where do you think you're

going to end up next?

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We're not sure what's

going to happen, as we say,

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because we're only now looking

into other services like Shelter.

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We asked Islington Council why

the family were being held

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responsible for their homelessness.

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They told us it could have done more

if it had been contacted

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earlier in the process.

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Kim Stewart is an outreach

worker with the charity

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School Home Support.

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Michael and Alison are one of 10,000

struggling families her charity has

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tried to help this year.

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Homelessness,

overcrowding and eviction.

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I mean, it's very confined

in this place anyway.

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So the only place they can play

in here is in the corridors.

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This is the second time Kim

has had to help Stacey,

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a single parent with four children.

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This room, with no toilet

or kitchen, is all she can afford.

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In rent arrears, she was evicted

from her council house in August.

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Now this landlord wants her out

because of her son's behaviour.

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So basically they're

going to give you an eviction

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notice because your son...

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Touched a fire extinguisher.

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This is a son that's got ADHD?

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And autism, yes.

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High rents, welfare reform and life

choices all play their part.

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But is eviction always necessary?

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There's a lack of communication

and home visits, if you've

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done a home visit.

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If the housing association,

the council had done a home visit

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when things start building up,

if you've got a debt you get

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people writing you a letter

saying we've got a debt.

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That gets building up.

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Go do a home visit,

see what's going on.

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Actually understand

what the families are going through.

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On average, 100 families

are evicted every day.

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Chris Rodgers, BBC London News.

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Since the Grenfell tragedy brought

fire safety into the spotlight,

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BBC London has revealed several

safety issues with tower

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blocks across the capital.

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Now structural problems have been

found in another estate,

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this time in Fulham,

where fire wardens are

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on patrol 24 hours a day.

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Gareth Furby has this

exclusive report.

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Two 1960s tower blocks in Fulham.

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But are they safe?

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Perhaps not.

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In an empty flat, structural

engineers have now cut away concrete

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to expose cracking where the floors

join the walls.

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A fire safety expert we've spoken

to, who is not connected

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with the structural investigation,

says this is an alarming discovery.

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Because such cracking is seen

throughout the blocks,

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it may mean a fire could not be

contained in a flat.

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Instead, he says, it could spread

throughout the building.

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What could happen here is,

because of the lack of fire

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stopping, the smoke and fire

could spread from flat

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to flat, vertically.

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Following the structural

investigation and the discovery

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of the cracking, fire safety wardens

have now started patrolling

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the tower blocks 24 hours a day.

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Their brief is to get

residents out as quickly

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as possible if a fire starts.

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But some residents are concerned.

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Hammersmith and Fulham council

insists with wardens in place

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the residents are safe.

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But last night they faced

some tough questions.

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And, for this woman, Lexa Reid,

it was repeating a scene

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that the BBC filmed back in 1984.

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How does this message get back that

some of us want out?

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Even then, she was worried

about the safety of these blocks.

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Will you tell me that these flats

are going to be safe?

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In July, after the Grenfell

disaster, she wrote

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to the London Fire Brigade demanding

an urgent investigation

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into the safety of the blocks.

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Now, fire wardens are

patrolling outside her flat.

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It always takes a disaster

before anything is done

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anywhere, doesn't it?

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Whatever it may be, whether it

be a fire or whatever.

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I believe that we did everything

we can to keep residents safe.

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The worst thing we could do is cause

panic among our own residents

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and put them out of a home if we can

make them safe with fire

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wardens, extra precautions,

which is what we've been

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doing to date.

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The council says next week

a new alarm system will be fitted

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in the blocks and the Fire Brigade

is going to check every

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flat for fire safety.

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I'll say goodnight now

and it's over to Nick Miller

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for a check on the weather.

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I think the picture behind you says

it all?

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I can't hide it from you,

temperatures have not dropped too

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far this evening but they have

further to go. We have seen a bit of

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cloud across, but I think after

midnight a lot of that will

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disappear. Frost taking over the

map. We will be at or just below

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freezing as Thursday begins. Another

frosty start to the day. Under clear

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skies, the first part of the day,

there will be a lot of sunshine,

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more than we have seen today. Into

the afternoon, there will be some

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patchy cloud coming through from

time to time. Temperatures, just

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heading up to about three or four

micro degrees. The wind is making it

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feel colder. Tomorrow evening,

especially tomorrow night, turning

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more interesting as we start to see

some wintry showers beginning to

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move across. If you icy patches

developing is well into Friday

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morning. Sunshine following during

Friday. The showers start to fade

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away. A change of wind direction

going into the weekend. Milder air

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starting to move in, but with plenty

of

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