Ipswich MP secures debate over St Francis Tower 'shrink wrap'
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has secured a parliamentary debate on the effects of remediation work on people who live in high-rise tower blocks, such as St Francis Tower in Ipswich.
The tower has been covered in plastic sheeting since its cladding was removed in the wake of the Grenfell tower disaster in 2018.
The debate will be taking place on March 2 and will last an hour and a half. The relevant minister will have to attend.
Mr Hunt said: “I applied for the debate due to what has happened with St Francis Tower.
"For over eight months a massive shrink wrap has covered the building meaning that hundreds of my constituents have been having to put up with unacceptable living conditions, with virtually no natural light or fresh air.
"I still haven't been provided with a concrete timeline for when the shrink wrap will come off, despite agitating consistently for much of the past year.”
He continued: “Other residents across town are also having to confront the same sorts of issues.
"Some building managers are proposing netting material that is marginally better than the shrink wrap on St Francis Tower but I still think there is a way to go.”
Tenants have complained about living in the tower, saying that since the plastic went on it has been "like a prison cell" and "dark gloomy, and extremely depressing".
In addition to this, complaints have been made that the tower is now becoming a haven for criminal elements, with one resident saying: "there are always police cars outside, or you see groups of officers running up and down the stairs.
- 1 Crash involving ambulance closes Ipswich road
- 2 Richest people in East Anglia revealed on Sunday Times Rich List
- 3 Suffolk fish and chip van to feature on Escape to the Country
- 4 Parking woes for shop parade hit by 'continous roadworks'
- 5 'You have broken us!' - New cafe at Suffolk beauty spot on huge demand
- 6 Driver taken to hospital after car crashes into parked vehicle
- 7 Police carry out 'pre-planned' operation in Felixstowe road
- 8 Ipswich salon to offer free gent's haircut at Suffolk Show
- 9 List of 18 rejected proposals to save Felixstowe beach huts revealed
- 10 Fuel spillage causes delays on busy Ipswich road after truck breaks down
"It feels lawless at times.”
St Francis's managing agent, BMUK, which does not own the block but runs it on behalf of the leaseholders and the freeholder, said tenants had been evicted in 2018 and 2019 for prostitution and antisocial behaviour, but that legislation introduced during the pandemic had made it difficult for landlords to get rid of troublesome renters.
They said indoor CCTV footage from across 2020 and 2021 showed people in the block injecting drugs, chasing each other with fire extinguishers and smearing excrement up the walls.
But they added that the scaffolding had created CCTV blackspots — meaning it was hard to track down the culprits responsible.