Council reassures high-rise Wirral residents after Grenfell Tower fire disaster

Reporter:

Steve Creswell

HIGH-rise tower block residents on the Wirral have been reassured over safety.

In an update to Wirral Council, cabinet member for housing and community safety, Cllr George Davies said tests in tower blocks run by social housing provider Magenta Living had revealed cladding is not the same as that used on Grenfell Tower.

More than 80 people died in the blaze that engulfed the 24-storey building in London last month.

Flammable aluminum cladding had been used on the tower, which allowed the flames to spread quickly up the side of the structure.

In his message to all 66 councillors, Cllr Davies said the issue of ensuring safety at all tower blocks in Wirral was the priority for a multi-agency co-ordination group that he chairs.

He wrote: “As is happening around the country, the work of the co-ordination group is focused at this stage primarily on identifying aluminum, or ACM, cladding on high-rise residential blocks – that is a building which is either six storeys and above or a minimum of 18 metres in height.

“Magenta has assessed the eight high-rise buildings it owns and confirm that none have been fitted with ACM cladding so there are no urgent concerns about the safety of residents in these properties.

“The council’s housing team has identified the owners or managers of eight privately-owned blocks in Wirral and has written to them to reinforce the government’s message that they need to check their own buildings.

“They have also been informed that if they identify anything of concern, the government is offering them the facility to have samples of their cladding tested for free by the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE).

“In addition to the above, officers from the council’s housing and building control teams and the fire service have a programme underway to visit all the residential high rise blocks to undertake further checks.

“Officers will work closely with individual owners to investigate any concerns about external cladding and any remedial actions that are deemed necessary will be enforced under the most appropriate legislation.”

He said information-sharing between partner organisations represented on the group has been “very positive” and actions are being “well co-ordinated”.

Cllr Davies added: “We know communications and messages of reassurance are very important in managing residents’ concerns and we will co-ordinate a regular supply of pro-active, updated information to Wirral residents and respond to specific enquiries and concerns as and when they are raised.

“We are also in ongoing communication with the Homes and Communities Agency and the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure all actions and decisions taken at a local level are consistent with what is happening with other authorities around the country.”

Email:

steve.creswell@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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