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Did CityWest Homes refuse to allow leaseholders to buy fire safety doors?

28 July, 2017

• I WROTE to Letters about the situation in the Dufours Place block of flats where I live (Flats above and below mine would burn like matchwood, July 14).

Fire safety doors have been fitted to tenants’ flats but not to the many flats owned by leaseholders, and I attributed this to reckless economy by leaseholders, and inertia on the part of CityWest Homes in not insisting that leaseholders should spend the money to have them – obviously that would have been appalling enough.

However since then a fellow resident has informed me that a leaseholder neighbour of hers wanted to have a fire safety door when they were fitted and approached CityWest Homes, asking to pay so that his flat could have one, only to meet with a refusal. He was not allowed to have a fire safety door, despite his willingness to pay for it.

Sadly the gentleman concerned has since died and can no longer testify to his experience, but if this was indeed the attitude of CityWest Homes it would explain why not one single leaseholder’s flat has such a door.

And given the extent to which leasehold flats change hands, present owners may have no idea why their front door differs from others.

If those fire safety doors are needed at all then obviously they are needed by every flat if the whole block is to be safe. And if CityWest Homes did indeed refuse to allow leaseholders to pay to have them, then they must be held to account.

Only an investigation as to how the conditions in our block arose will provide answers, which I believe that Westminster City Council should conduct.

Of course, CityWest may regard constant flooding as a fire safety feature. Through no fault of the tenant in the flat above mine, but due entirely to the way major work was carried out by its leaseholder, I have suffered so many floods over years and years that every ceiling in my
home has been totally wrecked.

But I would prefer sprinklers, and swift action on safe doors throughout the block.

ALIDA BAXTER
Dufours Place, W1

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