A thousand people whose lives 'may be at risk' ordered to leave west London homes

A thousand people were today ordered to leave their west London homes because of safety fears.

The immediate evacuation of the six-block Paragon development in Brentford was ordered by housing association Notting Hill Genesis.Residents were told their lives could be at risk. Details of the threat were unclear but the crisis is understood to be related to fire safety.

A statement issued by Notting Hill Genesis said expert advice had uncovered problems with the buildings’ construction.

The housing association said residents, including more than 600 University of West London students would be rehoused.

  • It is understood some 688 students from the University of West London living on the estate are due to be offered alternative purpose-built accommodation

  • Those living in 105 shared ownership leasehold units and 65 intermediate rent homes, will be moved to hotels near the estate

  • NHG will cover the costs of the moves as well as new accommodation in the first instance, with residents being given dedicated caseworkers to discuss their needs.

Students were left feeling “freaked out” as they were told to vacate their accommodation, via email and a series of Zoom calls on Monday, one teenager said.

Laura Howes, 19, in her first year studying business, said: “We’ve been told that we just need to leave as soon as possible pretty much, in that there’s been a serious investigation into the safety of the building.”

She added: “Now we’re being moved to Wembley which is an hour and a half away which is just catastrophic for our courses.”

Students gathered outside block F on the Paragon estate in Brentford, west London

Ms Howes, who is only two days out of coronavirus self-isolation with friends, said the announcement was “very last minute” and warned that the pressures of moving were “going to have a massive toll on our education for the next couple of weeks, until we’ve all settled in”.