Chalcots evacuation family lose eviction fight
Mother-of-four distressed by fire safety crisis did not want to return to tower blocks
11 December, 2017 — By William McLennan
The tower blocks of the Chalcots estate
A FAMILY who were refusing to move back to the Chalcots estate say they will be forced to split up after a judge granted Camden Council an eviction order.
The mother-of-four, who represented herself at Central London County Court on Wednesday, said that fears over the safety of the block and the impact of the evacuation on her mental health meant she could not return.
Her husband and children now face being forced back, while Andrea, who asked that her second name is not published, will stay with friends. She had presented the judge with a surveyor’s report that took issue with the quality of the work that took place while the blocks were evacuated this summer.
Lawyers for Camden Council handed the judge a letter from the fire brigade from August which said that it was “satisfied the initial work has been enough to allow reoccupation of the buildings”.
District Judge Suzanne Mary Burn said: “The works to the blocks, from the evidence in front of me, I am satisfied have been done.” Andrea had presented medical evidence stating that her fragile mental health had worsened as a result of the evacuation. She suffered from anxiety and depression and had what she described as a “breakdown” in 2014, when she was signed off work as a NHS theatre nurse. She had largely recovered, but the evacuation set her back and she said the thought of returning to the high-rise block triggered panic attacks.
Issuing the council with a possession order, District Judge Burn said: “While I have got sympathy for her because she feels very unsettled, from the evidence put in front of me I can see no way in which Camden has been unreasonable or irrational in this case.”