Waltham Forest Council has been accused of “misleading” hundreds of residents for years over the safety of their homes.

At a full council meeting on December 3, Nick Tiratsoo claimed 217 residents in Northwood Tower and four other blocks were misled about how fire resistant their front doors were.

He alleged the council repeatedly insisted new doors installed after the Grenfell Tower disaster were “FD60”, meaning they could withstand fire for an hour, but that it later emerged this was not true.

Neither of these claims were disputed by Cllr Louise Mitchell, responsible for housing and homelessness prevention, who responded to his statement at the meeting.

Waltham Forest Council is in the process of improving fire safety in all its buildings, which it estimates will cost around £38 million, and for which tenants and leaseholders may be charged.

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In a statement read out at the meeting, Mr Tiratsoo said: “The council told residents that the new front entrance doors were certified FD60 and made the same claim repeatedly in public.

“In 2019, and for reasons that remain unexplained, the council sent three (doors) from the 2017-18 batch to Dubai for fire testing, and they failed at 31, 34, and 45 minutes.”

He asked the council if it has "formally apologised" to residents in the five blocks for "misleading" them over the course of two to three years.

He also called on the council to “publish the evidence that it relied upon” that the fire doors were FD60, explain why it had them tested and whether it informed the police when they failed.

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The law only requires fire doors to be able to withstand flames for half an hour, meaning the current doors are legally safe. However, this is expected to change after the conclusion of the Grenfell inquiry.

The doors were installed in Northwood Tower, Boothby Court, Goddarts House, Holmcroft House, and Lime Court in 2017 and 2018.

In November 2018, a Goddarts House resident told the Waltham Forest Echo he was very concerned about his new door, describing it as “a total failure” with “no label of certification”.

Responding to the Echo at the time, Cllr Louise Mitchell stated the doors were “rated as fire resistant up to 60 minutes”.

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Speaking at the meeting on December 3, she insisted fire safety “has always been a priority” and encouraged any residents with concerns to alert the council immediately.

She said: “Nothing is more important than the safety of our residents. That means ensuring that our management of and investment in council homes puts fire safety first.

“As a council we are investing £250 million in our housing stock over the next six years and £40 million of that is specifically set aside for building safety.

“The Government is bringing in stronger measures to ensure new buildings are built safely and existing buildings are brought up to standard.

“We are going above and beyond these requirements to make all our council homes safe and fit for the future.

“I want to be absolutely clear, if anyone - any resident or member - has concerns that there is a potential fire risk in their building, they should report this issue to us immediately.

“I’m always happy to look into residents’ concerns and will ensure that we provide a full response.”

She added that, since the Grenfell Tower disaster, the council has begun identifying and fixing issues in its buildings and regularly inspecting fire doors.

She also said she would contact Mr Tiratsoo to respond to his statement “in full” shortly.

This article was edited on December 10 to make it more clear the current doors meet legal requirements.

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