People living in soon to be regenerated tower blocks are planning to resist the removal of their 'safety and security' after being left 'scared and intimidated' by housing officer visits.

Residents of John Walsh and Fred Wigg towers in Leytonstone are ‘furious’ at Ascham Homes after receiving information that they will be removing fire doors which separate their balconies next week without public notice.

An email from Judith Page, director of property services at Ascham Homes, seen by The Guardian said that the works would begin on Monday (September 21) with residents to be given 24 hours’ notice by letter.

Residents of the towers allege that they are being harassed by officers trying to get access to their homes to inspect the balconies at least twice a week and have been told they can make visits “whenever they like.”

At a meeting last night (September 16) the tenants’ and residents’ association (TRA) assessed their options to prevent the work including putting pressure on the council’s decision makers, denying workmen access to the buildings and proceeding with a court injunction.

Cllr Keith Rayner of Cann Hall ward said: “If people are being visited by housing officers who claim they can enter their property at any time. This is not true.

“Officers need to get a court warrant to access your properties, if you refuse access they can’t get in.”

Labour Cllr Patrick Edwards said he thought portfolio holder for housing Khevyn Limbajee had seen “common sense” during their last meeting on August 5.

“If what the TRA are saying is true. I am profoundly disappointed at the breathtaking high-handedness of the council who I thought were prepared to discuss options”, he said.

“Why has Cllr Limbajee now changed his mind?

“We all want fire safety in the towers but this is just Ascham homes interpretation of the fire report.

“They have not maintained proper fire safety in the two buildings.

“There are seven methods of fire escape depending on what floor or side of the building you are on, but they don’t know or understand this.”

“With talk of officers with keys opening up the front doors of people’s flats that to me is the direct opposite of safety and security, I do not want people to feel anxious and I will ask the housing lead if this is a policy that will be continued.”

Sabeen Hussain, 40, has raised her family in the block.

“They have given us too short a deadline to fight back”, she said.

“We are sick and tired of being harassed and intimidated by Ascham Homes officers. I am proud to say I am a resident of Fred Wigg tower.”

New chairwoman of the tenants’ and residents’ association (TRA) Sonia McKenzie said the works were designed to clear remaining residents of the soon to be refurbished towers out of their homes.

She said: “This has all been driven by the council claiming that the fire brigade say the door has to be removed, and if they don't act they will be taken to court.

“They want the residents to take housing association properties, which are more expensive and have no secure tenancy agreements.

“The fire issues have not been resolved and this is another way to brush it under the carpet.”

A four year project to refurbish Fred Wigg and John Walsh towers is set to begin in the next year.

It will see a cut from 234 social housing units to 200.

The plan, which the council say is supported by majority of the residents, is to build new flats in a block between the towers and sell some on the open market to raise £30 million towards the refurbishment.