MORE than 200 people have joined a Facebook group calling for the demolition of the Kingston tower block damaged by a huge inferno.

A total of 230 residents had signed up to the page called 'Petition to knock down Madingley' on the popular social networking site by the start of the week.

One user described the 15-storey block as a 'death trap', while another said 'these horrendous structures... should have been knocked down ages ago'.

The introduction to the Facebook page states: "After recent events we, and other residents of the Cambridge estate, feel it's necessary to knock the whole building down and the existing two other tower blocks for the safety of residents, not only in the tower blocks but the surrounding blocks as well."

However, many people defended Madingley and the neighbouring blocks, saying it would be a waste of money to pull them down and doing so would break up the close-knit community.

Ian Kincaid wrote: "It's only the top couple of floors anyway. They should not knock it down as all the other floors are safe and it would be a waste of money and a right mess of re-housing people."

Council chiefs this week insisted they had no plans to destroy the building, the upper storeys of which were badly damaged by the blaze on July 12.

Keith Broxup, Kingston Council's interim head of housing, said: "The initial view of all parties concerned is that the building withstood the fire well and substantially contained it.

"The council has no reason to believe the building is unsafe and is actively working to get residents back in their homes as quickly as possible. The council has no immediate plans to demolish the block but is to consider regeneration plans for the longer term future of the area."

An online petition has also been set up, at , with 25 people having added their names by the start of the week.

Sharon Smith wrote: "Knock all the tower blocks down. They are a danger and my daughter is in Graveley and now feels scared."

Meanwhile, a fund has been set up by the Cambridge Road Estates Community Group to help victims of the fire, which has left 60 families temporarily homeless.

The CREST Fire Fund will help families replace possessions lost in the blaze and decorate their their homes when they are able to move back in to their homes or a permanently re-housed.

You can donate online, using the account name CREST Fire Fund, the sort code 30-94-77 and account number 3879 1768. Alternatively you can send a cheque made payable to CREST Fire Fund to Georgina Harris, CREST Treasurer, 61 Graveley, Willingham Way, Kingston KT1 3HY, or call 8547 6910.

Managers of the fire fund are selling off surplus items already donated by generous neighbours following the fire at a rummage sale at Piper Hall tomorrow (Saturday, July 31), from 11am to 1pm.