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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 14:20 GMT
Tornado homes escape demolition
Damage scene (pic Paul Da Silva)
More than 100 homes were damaged by the tornado. Photo by Paul Da Silva

All of the homes damaged by a tornado in north-west London will be saved from demolition, surveyors have said.

More than 100 houses in Kensal Rise were damaged on Thursday and experts initially believed some would need to be knocked down.

But this has been discounted following further inspections of the properties.

Meanwhile, contractors trying to repair homes have complained parked cars blocking nearby streets are hampering their efforts.

Brent Council has put up posters around the area and leafleted residents to urge them to remove their vehicles.

76th birthday

Surveyors on site say progress is being made and that five more families have been allowed to return to their homes - bringing the number of uninhabitable homes down from 34 to 29.

Andy Hardy, director of building control for Brent Council said: "It is now my opinion that no homes will be demolished as a result of the tornado. They can all be saved."

The authority has rehoused 12 people but most of those affected had decided to stay with family and friends.

About 100 residents have spent their second night in temporary accommodation after being told it was too dangerous to return to their homes.

Among them was Elma Bettencourt, who spent her 76th birthday in a local community hall with her husband Herman.

She said: "It was certainly different. I was celebrating in the same dirty clothes as I've been in for two days. But my family did what they could to make it feel special."

Brent Council said it was working to get people back in their homes as soon as possible but safety was a priority.

Weatherproofing homes

It has moved its support centre to Kensal Rise Methodist Church Hall in Chamberlain Road.

At a meeting held at the venue on Saturday morning, residents were urged to contact their insurers as soon as possible.

Brent Council's Irfan Malik said: "Our surveyors are only supposed to make sure properties are structurally safe. It is residents' responsibility to get insurers in to do weatherproofing as soon as possible."

Brent Council has set up a residents' inquiries number which is open from 0900 to 1700 GMT daily on 0208 937 5255.


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