London News & Search
A film-maker who covered the aftermath of a building collapse in Bangladesh has turned his camera on himself and his neighbours after their London tower blocks were declared unsafe.
Hannan Majid, his wife Danielle Gregory and two daughters are among some 500 residents who face being moved out of the Ledbury estate in Peckham during repairs.
Safety tests after the Grenfell fire found the four 13-storey blocks are at risk of collapse.
Mr Majid said: “After spending years filming in places like Bangladesh, Cambodia and Iraq, I’ve ended up living in a building that has been in danger of collapse for more than 40 years.”
His production firm, Rainbow Collective, worked on a campaign after the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 when an eight-storey clothing factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing 1,129 people.
He said: “It is the same issues of the working class versus a larger body: the garment industry in Bangladesh, Kensington council with Grenfell and here Southwark council. We are seeing these issues across London and it is time one of these councils came forward and took the lead for all other councils to follow and acknowledge the housing problems.”
Mr Majid, 38, originally from Bradford, has won awards in Dubai, France and the Czech Republic.
He said: “As a filmmaker you can normally do the smart thing and get yourself out of there but I have a very different situation now. These are our homes… I am filming everything to collect evidence for our own community campaign.”
Gas supplies have been shut off and hobs replaced with hotplates, while residents have been given free passes to leisure centres to bathe. The council says it expects to move tenants out next year for works to fix building cracks.
Mr Majid and his wife, whose girls Tianna and Layla are seven and six months, are helping co-ordinate tenants to ensure families are rehoused nearby and repairs finished as quickly as possible. They are also requesting a rent freeze.
Mr Majid said: “Let us go into next week when people are going to get even more frustrated after more days without a bath or it taking hours to cook a family meal. We were one of the first to put our names on a list to leave so it means we are one of the first to move. Although we are lucky and we are moving we are not going to be happy until everyone else is safe.”
Southwark council leader Peter John said: “The situation is far from ideal, but we had to turn the gas off as soon as we knew there was a potential risk. Residents’ safety and wellbeing is our absolute priority.”
London News & Search