Timber from the balconies of 750 Westminster properties is being removed and recycled for use in allotments.
Six high-rise residential towers on the Warwick and Brindley estates, known as the Little Venice Towers, are having the timber from their balconies removed as a safety measure.
While the balconies came up to previous fire safety standards, in the wake of Grenfell new advice was published which the council has moved quickly to adopt.
Removing the timber decking panels and replacing them with non-slip easy to clean concrete tiles is costing the us £3m, but resident safety remains the top priority.
The 3,000 square metres of decking is not going to waste, instead some of it is being used in allotments on the estate, and the rest will be recycled through social enterprise Community Wood Recycling (opens new window).
Cllr Andrew Smith, Westminster City Council cabinet member for housing services, said:
“The safety of our residents is our top priority and as a forward thinking council, when it comes to fire safety works, we’re keeping ahead of changing building regulations. We’re acting swiftly and safely, doing so in a green and environmentally friendly way. The timber may be no good for a balcony, but it’s great for an allotment.”
Mr Davidson, a tenant of one of the buildings, said:
“I have been able to help a lot residents on the allotment by making use of the old wooden decking boards. They are very useful in creating beds for the plants.”
Last year we removed all of the ACM cladding from the Little Venice towers, and will start work to re-insulate them later this year by applying a completely non-combustible alternative that was agreed with residents.
There are no other council-owned residential buildings with timber frames, balconies or decking.