Save Our Square demands fire safety on sixth anniversary of Grenfell fire

by John Kinson, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Save Our Square protesters gathered in Walthamstow town square, East London, on Saturday 17 June – the sixth anniversary of the Grenfell tower fire. The campaign, led by Socialist Party members, has been fighting over the last seven years against new ‘monster’ tower blocks being built as part of the ‘refurbishment’ of Walthamstow’s mall. We spoke to members of the public angry about building safety and the housing crisis.

The protest was called because the buildings are being built with only one stairwell and lift. A likely conclusion of the Grenfell inquiry will be that newly built tower blocks will require two stairwells and lifts. These rules should apply to all tower blocks currently being built.

The blocks lack any council or even social housing. All of them have rents at prices unaffordable to the average worker in the borough. We propose that as these properties have been built on public land, they should all be council homes.

We are demanding that the council pauses construction on these buildings while the safety issues around fire exits are reviewed. We are encouraging members of the public to send letters to Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, demanding that she intervenes with the local Labour council. These requests continue to go unfulfilled. Labour continues to enact policies that are not in the interests of the people they are supposed to serve. Workers need a new mass party of the working class that will.