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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-01-07

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


Multi agency response to high rise fire safety concerns

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A multi agency task group is working to assess and deal with all issues relating to the safety of high rise residential properties in Wirral in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Officers and elected representatives from Wirral Council, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Magenta Living, the largest social housing provider in Wirral, are working side by side to share all relevant information and deal immediately with any issues as they arise.

Officers from the fire service and Magenta Living have already carried out initial assessments and are reassuring residents, particularly those who live in high-rise properties, that their safety is the utmost priority.

Wirral Council's housing team is contacting owners of privately managed residential blocks in an effort to provide the same reassurance to people who live in those properties.

A high rise property is defined as a building that is more than 6 storeys or 18 metres in height. There are 18 premises identified in Wirral as falling within this definition, 8 are owned and managed by Magenta Living and 10 properties are in private ownership. Wirral Council does not own or manage any high rise accommodation.

Initial assessment found that there is no aluminium cladding, such as that used at Grenfell Tower, on any Magenta Living owned properties. The inspections of the privately owned properties is still ongoing, but again no aluminium type cladding has been found on the properties assessed so far.

If concerns about any external cladding do become apparent, samples will be sent to the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE) as a matter of urgency and the fire service will carry out a fire safety assessment and advise what remedial actions may be necessary.

Cllr George Davies, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety, said:- "Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragedy in north Kensington. What happened has shocked the whole country and people are rightly asking a lot of questions about the safety of people living in high rise accommodation.  We have convened this joint task group to work around the clock to build a picture of the situation we have here in Wirral and take action immediately if and when it is required. The group is also receiving and assessing information and developments across the whole country and our work will be fed directly back to the Homes and Communities Agency and the Department for Communities and Local Government.  Residents living in high rise accommodation can be assured that their safety is our number one priority and everything that can be done is being done to make the buildings they live in as safe as they can be."

In Sefton, 2 Bootle high rise blocks have failed fire safety tests and had cladding "removed immediately." The Landlords, of the blocks, Cygnet and Wren House, on St James Drive, Bootle, said:- "We have taken this precautionary measure to ensure the continued safety of our tenants." One Vision Housing, added that:- "The blocks have not been evacuated while takes place."

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said:- "If family members have any concerns over elderly or vulnerable relatives living in high rise premises, then please do call Fire Service direct on:- 0800 731 5958, over any working day (week day, 9am  to 5pm) or you can also send them an email via:- FireServiceDirect@MerseyFire.Gov.UK."


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