Senior councillors and officers at Bromley Council have continued to talk to local housing associations over the past month to build on earlier reassurances they gave about the safety of residents.
Numerous discussions and meetings have followed the work conducted by the council immediately following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower to seek reassurance that everything possible is being done to ensure people are safe in their homes. Councillor Stephen Carr, Leader of the Council, gave a statement at Full Council explaining what actions had been taken to reassure residents, listing some of the detailed responses provided by the housing associations. The recently published Full Council minutes 26 June
on the council’s website, give more details. At the time of the statement, the largest provider, Clarion, had already commissioned a detailed review of all its properties over six storeys and has subsequently moved on to review lower rise properties.
The management teams of the key housing associations were invited to the Civic Centre for wide-ranging discussions about fire safety throughout their accommodation, both high- and low-rise. Bromley’s Fire Borough Commander has also given his views on the local position and the way in which the fire brigade works with Bromley’s housing associations. Further, the Council has checked that other provision has the appropriate assessments in place. This includes temporary accommodation, More Homes Bromley, nightly-paid temporary accommodation, supported housing, care leaver’s placements, care homes, schools and other public buildings.
Following up on this work, Bromley’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Colin Smith said:
“Unfortunately, over the course of the past few days we have discovered evidence of thoroughly despicable scare stories and misinformation/innuendo being circulated about the safety of local housing by so called ‘Backing Bromley’ which is causing severe heartache, pain and worry to the affected residents they are briefing.
“They really must desist from playing such vile gutter politics with people’s lives.
“Here are just a few examples of the upset their utterly shameful antics are needlessly causing:
“We have taken a distressing call from a mum whose son is now so uncomfortable in his home, because he believes it unsafe, that it is having a detrimental effect on his development and well-being, as well as adversely affecting his progress at school.
“There is the resident with mental health issues who feels he can no longer sleep in his own home as well as the request for an emergency move from a family with a 7-year-old who are now convinced they are not safe in their tower block.
“In recent days our housing department has suddenly received more than 30 calls as well as upsetting written stories from residents who have been so frightened by being told their homes are unsafe by people not connected with a housing association, the council or the fire brigade, that they now wish to move.
“I want to make it absolutely clear to people across our borough – especially those who feel worried and vulnerable – that we are looking out for their interests and are continuing to work with housing associations and others to make sure that everything that can be done to ensure residents’ continued safety is being done.
“I would strongly encourage anybody offered ‘advice’ by Backing Bromley to directly challenge them to source and justify their advice.
“To date, despite their ongoing posturing and invitation to present it to the council they have conspicuously failed to do so.
“Their behaviour remains nothing less than utterly contemptible.”