Southwark Council has apologised to residents of Tooley Street after their sleep was disturbed by window cleaning at the authority's headquarters in the early hours of the morning.
At Tuesday's meeting of the council's cabinet a public question was tabled by local resident Jeff Kelland who asked: "Does the council think the cleaning of windows at the front of its offices at 160 Tooley Street at 1.30am on a weekday using a cherrypicker and supervised by security staff is reasonable and neighbourly behaviour as occurred in the early hours of Thursday 29 March?"
Cllr Richard Livingstone, the council's cabinet member for resources and community safety, replied: "The actions of the contractor on behalf of the council were clearly not reasonable or neighbourly.
"Good relationships with our residential neighbours are of paramount importance and the council can only apologise for this very unfortunate incident and the disturbance that it caused.
"As part of the buildings periodic external window clean the windows on the front elevation had been previously cleaned by a 'reach and wash' system during working hours but at high level this failed to clean to the required standard primarily due to the trees at the front of the building on Tooley Street. The window cleaning contractors were instructed to return to meet the required quality standard.
"Over the night of Wednesday 28 March and the early hours of Thursday 29 March the contractor was undertaking work to other non council buildings in the vicinity of Tooley Street using a cherry picker and unfortunately, without prior arrangement or agreement from the council, they returned at 00.30hrs on Thursday morning to the front elevation at Tooley Street to clean the windows again.
"All window cleaning operations at Tooley Street are normally carried out during the working day and had we received prior notification of their intention to return at this time this would not have been approved in any circumstances. The contractors concerned have been dealt with very stongly and we can assure our neighbours that this will not be repeated."
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