Rooftop gardens at block of flats in Hemel Hempstead closed over fire safety concerns

The council is working to remove and replace certain materials from the rooftop gardens and 10 external balconies

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 9:29 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 9:30 am

The rooftop gardens at a block of flats in Hemel Hempstead have been cordoned off as they no longer comply with fire safety regulations.

Dacorum Borough Council is working with the original developer to remove and replace certain materials on the rooftop gardens and 10 of the external balconies, and has apologised for the closure.

But one woman, who does not wish to be named, raised her concerns after residents at Kylna Court received a letter from the council about the situation.

Kylna Court (C) Google Maps

She said: "Kylna Court was flagged as the council's flagship development, it had rooftop gardens, that residents had access to and balconies, it was really lovely.

"But, last week, residents received a letter saying that they're taking the gardens away because they are flammable, as are the balconies and are therefore unsafe.

"They have been taped off, but nothing has been done to remove them, which I think is unsafe.

"People were smoking in the gardens, and on the balconies and some have still been smoking out there, even though they have been cordoned off.

"I think the council should be moving quicker to remove them."

The woman, who was contacted by residents, added: "Several fire doors in the building are also broken, and there has been no action by the council to fix these.

"The corridors also have things in them, which have been put there by residents, but the council should be doing checks and making sure the corridors are all clear.

"This is very dangerous, and I'm concerned for the residents that live there.

"The council should be acting quicker to make it safe for them."

A spokesperson for Dacorum Borough Council said: "We apologise to the residents of Kylna Court that the rooftop gardens are currently closed while we work with Jarvis, the original developer, to remove and replace certain materials on these and 10 of the external balconies.

"These materials, which complied with fire safety regulations when the building was completed, no longer comply following further guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

"As such we have taken the immediate precaution of closing the gardens, while we source and fit new materials.

"The 10 external balconies can still be used in the interim, but we have written to the residents affected to advise that no activity which could pose a fire risk such as smoking should take place.

"If we have concerns regarding this, the balconies will be closed.

"We will continue to work with residents to keep everyone fully updated on developments during this time."

Safety in Communal Areas Policy

The council spokesperson added: "Our Safety in Communal Areas Policy ensures all communal areas are inspected monthly and any items found in corridors are removed.

"We urge residents to keep communal areas clear to ensure the areas meet fire and safety requirements.

"Kylna Court has been fitted with a sprinkler system and has a fire risk assessment completed annually by an independent consultant, all communal fire doors are inspected periodically to identify any issues.

"We will continue to inspect Kylna Court to ensure all doors meet current fire safety standards.

"If a resident has any concerns these can be reported to [email protected]."