Ipswich vicar pleads for help for St Francis Tower residents

A photograph of Reverend Tom Mumford sitting on a bench

Rev Tom Mumford has written an open letter calling for help for residents of St Francis Tower. - Credit: Photo: Philip JC King

The vicar of Ipswich's Civic Church has written to the owners and managers of St Francis Tower in the town centre begging them to find a way of ending the misery faced by residents.

People living in the tower have had their homes wrapped in plastic for more than a year while work to replace potentially-dangerous cladding is taking place.

Now they are suffering even more than most from heat problems as their homes are wrapped up and are becoming unbearably hot.

St Francis Tower block Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The plastic sheeting on St Francis Tower has increased the heat in the building. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

In an open letter Rev Tom Mumford, vicar of St Mary le Tower, has urged all sides to come together to find a solution to the problem. 

He is the latest to voice his concerns with Ipswich MP Tom Hunt describing the experience for residents as "unacceptable" and "unbearable". 

Rev Mumford addressed his concerns to Block Management, Oanders and Guildmore and R.G. Securities, as the managing agent, construction companies involved with the cladding and owner of the building.

Though St Mary le Tower is the town’s Civic Church, it is also a parish church, and the residents of St Francis Tower are my parishioners.

I am deeply concerned about the living conditions residents are experiencing, especially during these summer months, and in particular during the current heatwave.

With rising temperatures the living conditions, exaggerated by the plastic sheeting enveloping the tower, are becoming intolerable and I believe the current situation is bordering on inhumane.

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This cannot be acceptable.

All people are made in the image of God, and therefore deserve to live with dignity and safety. This makes it a moral issue.

I appreciate that this long-standing situation is complicated and that there are no easy answers. But this does not mean that answers cannot be found if all parties work together to resolve this issue with urgency.

I have been in contact with residents to offer pastoral support, assure them of my prayers, and commend the church building to their use as a safe and cool place to use during the hottest hours of the day.

I urge all of you to get around the table, and to work with all people of goodwill, to ensure the residents of St Francis Tower are able to live in safety, dignity, and comfort as soon as possible.

I pray that the willingness can be found to work collectively to resolve this for the good of the residents, who are ultimately children of God.