This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 05/04/2018.
Residents at one of Croydon’s tallest buildings ‘have been told it isn’t safe to go on their balconies’
Families who live at Altitude 25 paid up to £1 million each for their homes.
Residents at one of Croydon’s tallest buildings were allegedly told last month that their balconies have been unsafe to use for almost four years.
Families living in flats at Altitude 25, on Altyre Road, claim they were only told on March 8 that their balconies should not be used due to advice given by structural engineers in 2014.
When the balconies at the 26-storey building were inspected in October 2014, they were deemed “unsafe” by HML – the company which manages the development.
This was because handrails and floor panels on some of the balconies were found to be loose.
HML says that it informed residents at the time not to use their balconies and had planned repairs, but several people who moved in after the inspection claim they were “unaware” of this until a few weeks ago and are still waiting for their balconies to be fixed.
An email from HML, which was sent to residents on March 8 and has been seen by the Croydon Advertiser, states: “Following investigations and a letter sent in October 2014, we remind all residents in the tower that the balconies are deemed unsafe and should not be used.
“In keeping with the structural engineer’s advice, we reiterate that residents of all flats in the tower should minimize their use of the balcony areas and desist from applying pressure to the handrails until such point as they have been deemed to be safe.”
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote that his balcony is currently being supported by ropes, but that some of his neighbours had “only just found out” they weren’t supposed to use theirs.
He said: “Some of the balconies have been supported by ropes in what, we were told, would be a temporary measure.
“This is a potential deathtrap and to date nothing has been done about it – it’s a disgrace.
“Moreover, HML has known about the loose balconies – especially on upper floors – for the past three years but has only shared this information selectively.”
He added: “This development was supposed to be a flagship development for Croydon but it has now turned into a nightmare for residents.”
Altitude 25 is marketed as a luxury development, with the most expensive of the 196 apartments in the block previously being advertised at prices of up to £1 million.
It was completed in 2009 and is currently the second tallest building in the borough after 43-storey Saffron Square.
Another man, who purchased a flat in the tower block in order to rent it out, who also asked not to be named, added: “HML has known about this potentially lethal problem since 2014 but failed to inform us.
“I’ve had this flat let out since I bought it and our various tenants have had no knowledge of the status of this balcony.
“The email sent on March 8 was the first I had heard about the problem.
“I can’t make out why it’s taken more than three years for HML to bring this to our attention or to give a date when repairs will start. It’s appalling.”
This is not the first time Altitude 25 has made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Last August, residents in the tower block were left without water for more than a week due to a supply issue.
Commenting on the allegations, a spokeswoman for HML said: “When you read [the email] in isolation without any prior information the statement that ‘the balconies are deemed unsafe and should not be used is misleading.
“There are some parts of the building which have balconies that require remedial works, these works are part of an ongoing maintenance plan.”