Basildon flats Brooke House ‘unfit for human habitation’


A resident said his tower block was a “tragedy waiting to happen” after a power cut led to the basement car park gates being stuck.

Brooke House in Basildon lost electricity and water from 12:45 BST on Thursday until 05:00.

Jack Witchelo, who lives there, said people could have been trapped if there was a fire.

The council’s Labour leader said the block was “not fit for humans” and moving people out would be discussed.

The power cut meant lifts were also out of action, and water could not be pumped around the building.

Mr Witchelo, lives on the 13th floor of the 14-story block with his fiancée and 10 month old son, said he was worried about safety.

“Look at what happened at Grenfell, this is another tragedy waiting to happen,” he said.

His housing association, Swan Housing, moved people out while the utilities were fixed, although council tenants were not moved.

The council said the sprinkler system would not have been affected by the electricity outage, as it was powered independently.

The building, which has a mix of council tenants, housing association tenants and privately-owned flats, is owned and managed by the local authority.

A council spokesperson said: “UK Power Networks who are responsible for the power supply have advised that the fault was with a high voltage underground power cable – which also affected 1,760 electricity supplies in five postcode areas.

“Concierge staff were on site yesterday afternoon knocking on doors to inform residents of the issue and a council officer was also on site yesterday to open the basement car park gate.”

In messages seen by the BBC, the council’s Labour leader Gavin Callaghan told residents “the building isn’t fit for human habitation” and discussions would be held with council officers next week about its future.

“I want to find a solution that’s acceptable to residents ASAP,” he said.

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Olivia Wilson
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