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Council offers reassurance and help following tragic west London fire
At Full Council on 26 June, Bromley Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Carr, set out the actions being taken in Bromley to offer residents the assurances necessary following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in west London.
“As soon as the issues of this disaster became known,” said Councillor Carr, “I made it very clear that I wanted not only to be convinced our residents were as safe as they could possibly be in their homes, but also in all our public buildings.
“The council does not have housing stock, having transferred this to a housing association in the 1990s, so, whilst any liability remains with the provider, we as a housing authority must also take our duties seriously and ensure those residents we place either in or outside the borough are in safe accommodation.
“I have sought reassurances from the senior management of housing associations with high rise properties in the borough – Clarion, Hyde and Riverside - as well as other providers, that they have the appropriate assessments and guidance in place to keep our residents safe. Where reassurances fall short, it is not satisfactory, and I have asked for further assurances.
“The Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Association, formally Affinity Sutton, our largest provider, wrote to me personally. He told me they employ a dedicated team of fire safety specialists and work closely with the fire authorities. In light of recent events, and to offer additional reassurance to residents, they have commissioned a detailed review of all their residential properties of six storeys and more. This amounts to nine blocks in Bromley, none of which needs to be reviewed in relation to cladding. I will be meeting with the Chief Executives of all three of these housing associations to hear first-hand the work they are doing and to press them further on the need to demonstrate that our residents are safe.”
“In addition, I have written to schools in the borough to ask them to confirm what they have in place and to check it is fully compliant and up to date. The majority now have Academy status and do not come under the control of the local authority but I want to be entirely satisfied that everything is in order concerning the safety of our children. Public buildings and emergency planning arrangements will also both be reviewed. Regarding building work in the borough: either the Council’s Building Control Department or Private Approved Inspectors inspect all building work according to the requirements set out in the Building Regulations.”
The Council has also played its part in supporting the Grenfell Tower fire recovery team as part of pan-London resilience. The Council’s Chief Executive has been helping to assemble and deploy resources in west London, while Bromley social workers, housing officers and our emergency planning officer also volunteered to help.
Cllr Carr concluded: “We will continue to monitor the investigation into the horrendous fire at Grenfell Tower to enable us to learn lessons and we will work closely with Department for Communities and Local Government wherever needed.”