The following letter from senior staff at Bury Council and Six Town Housing is being posted to 1,319 tenants living in communal blocks that we manage, in response to the terrible event at Grenfell Tower.
RE: TRAGIC FIRE AT GRENFELL TOWER, LONDON
Words cannot describe the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, the loss of life and the terrible suffering. As a provider of accommodation and in relation to broader responsibilities, the Council and Six Town Housing (STH) take our role extremely seriously and want to make sure tenants and leaseholders feel reassured that we put their safety and security first.
The first thing to say is that we do not own or manage any properties that could be classified as high rise (over four-storey) and that the aluminium composite style of cladding used on Grenfell Tower has not been used on any Bury Council owned housing in the Borough. However, it is imperative that we are not complacent and that we recognise the risk that fire can create in all residential accommodation, particularly shared and mid/low rise accommodation.
We would like to assure you that on behalf of the Council that STH undertake annual Fire Risk Inspections for all relevant accommodation and we also continually seek to make any further improvements that we deem necessary to meet fire regulations. The Council have and continue to invest in fire safety improvements and we have over 250 fire risk assessments registered.
As part of the above and also through regular visits undertaken by STH Caretaking teams, Neighbourhood Housing Advisors and Repairs Direct, we seek to ensure that all our communal areas checked and they are clear of items that could create a fire hazard or block escape routes. Residents are advised that such items need be removed. Prior to the annual inspections, all tenants are issued with the Fire Inspection Guidance which advises that such items will be removed. If you would like another copy of this guidance please contact STH via the contact details below.
In light of the recent fire we are taking the extra precautionary measure of revisiting all communal blocks of flats to make sure they are all compliant with the Fire Inspection Guidance.
The Council and STH are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in London and will of course be following any expert advice as matters become clearer.
In the meantime, if you live in a block of flats there are a few steps you can take:
- Familiarise yourself with the fire safety procedures which will be clearly displayed within the communal area of your block and make sure you know where your nearest fire exit is;
- Make sure you have a working smoke alarm inyour home;
- Keep balconiesand communal areas free from clutter, rubbish and bikes etc.;
- Do not obstruct escape routes;
- Do not smoke in common areas of the block;
- Always fully extinguish cigarettes smoked in your home and dispose of them carefully and safely; and
- If you have any concerns about your specific block please speak to either:
Once again we would like to reassure our tenants and leaseholders that we take the safety of our communities very seriously and will continue to take all necessary steps to minimise the risk of fire.
PAT JONES GREENHALGH, Interim Chief Executive, Bury Council
SHARON McCAMBRIDGE, Chief Executive, Six Town Housing