New 12-month scaffolding riddle

We’ve no idea when poles and boards will ever come down, says scientist

Thursday, 2nd June — By Harry Taylor

Thomas Chau scaffolding HOTO-2022-05-31-16-30-15

Thomas Chau next to the scaffolding that has wrapped his home for a year

A LEASEHOLDER says Camden Council have not said when scaffolding – put up outside his house a year ago – will be taken down.

In the latest case of scaffolds left standing for months on end, Thomas Chau said workers put up the structure around his house in Upper Park Road, Belsize Park, in June 2021 due to falling masonry.

The research scientist, who specialises in artificial intelligence, said that workers organised by Camden – which owns the freehold to the building – removed rendering and plaster from the outside wall.

Since then Mr Chau and his family have had little communication with council officers, with the 36-year-old being kept in the dark about what work is still needed or when it will be done by.

“It is very difficult and stressful,” he said. “It’s causing us issues with my property. We’ve had damp in the winter which has damaged some of our possessions and had rain water coming through the holes in the walls.”

Mr Chau added: “It has taken over the side path of our house, so we can’t use it, and it’s in the garden so we can’t use that either.

“My five-year-old son wants to go out and play but I have to explain to him that it’s dangerous so he can’t. “I want to build an office in the garden, but this has stopped my plans as well.”

After calls, emails and complaints from Mr Chau, council staff earlier this month told him that workers would be on site from May 23. Instead, they arrived a week later and Mr Chau said the course of action is still unclear.

“What they need to do is to fix the issue,” said Mr Chau. “They put up the scaffolding because they hadn’t done the maintenance that they should have for 40 years.”

The story will be familiar to people living in the Regent’s Park estate, who have had scaffolding on their homes for a year, costing taxpayers £350,000.

Last month the New Journal reported that Danny Bouve, a tenant, has complained to the Town Hall every week since it was put up.

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “The safety of all of our residents is our number one concern, and this scaffolding was quickly erected as a result of a potential risk of falling materials from the building.

“We would like to apologise to all residents for the delay in these works starting. Contractors commenced work this week, which is estimated will take approximately eight weeks to complete.”

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