GRENFELL: CONSERVATIVE OPPOSITION LEADER SEEKS URGENT MEETING ON LAMBETH FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS
Lambeth’s Conservative opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs has called for an urgent meeting with the borough’s chief executive over claims that ‘Lambeth officers have confirmed that all Lambeth housing structures have an up to date fire risk assessment’.
In a strongly worded letter to Neil harriss, the borough’s chief executive, Cllr Briggs says: “In September last year when fire safety assessments had not been done, Lambeth officers reassured us that all fire safety assessments were up to date.
“Then at the end of March councillors were told that housing officers had been disciplined for not telling the truth about whether or not fire safety assessments had been done.
“I am concerned with the reassurances being given.
“Therefore I would like to arrange a meeting with the officer in charge of fire safety assessments to go through the work now being done and the assessments done previously, in order to be reassured that everything is being done correctly, and that the information being given to councillors is correct.”
The letter, sent on Tuesday, adds: “Please can you ask your secretary to arrange this meeting urgently for tomorrow or Thursday.”.
Cllr Briggs raised concerns after a letter sent by council leader Cllr Lib Peck (Lab) to all councillors, part of which reads: “Lambeth officers have confirmed that all Lambeth housing structures have an up to date fire risk assessment.
“There are a range of actions required as a result of the assessments which are being followed up – and blocks are being prioritised.
“Our director of housing services, Neil Wightman, chairs a fortnightly health and safety meeting which monitors the action plan and reviews fire risk. “Neil is meeting with the health and safety team today (June 14) to review further actions following last night’s incident, and these will include:
– reviewing blocks which have similar designs to Grenfell
– writing to all residents in blocks to reassure them, confirm there is an up to date risk assessment and remind them to not use communal areas or walkways for storage of any kind
– meeting LFB to discuss evacuation procedures and ensure notices in blocks are renewed or updated where required.
It would be much appreciated if you could feed back to Neil any specific concerns raised by residents who feel particularly vulnerable.”
LEWISHAM have become the first of the five local boroughs to respond to questions from News From Crystal Palace in the wake of the Grenfell tower disaster in North Kensington.
We asked: Are there any tower blocks or estates in the borough which were built by Rydon?
Lewisham replied: No. Rydon are the repairs and maintenance sub-contractor to RB3, the organisation set up to manage and bring up to the decent homes standard 1,837 properties in the Brockley area.
The contract was set up in 2007 and runs for 20 years until 2027. They are a sub-contractor, alongside Pinnacle who provide housing management services. Originally Higgins were part of the SPV (special purpose vehicle) and undertook the major works to get the homes up to the decent homes standard.
Rydon is now responsible to RB3 for the day-to-day repairs and maintenance needs of the homes, and will make sure that they are handed back to us in 2027 in the standard specified in our contract.
We also asked: Are there any tower blocks which have flammable or potentially flammable cladding installed on the outside of them?
Lewisham replied: Six blocks have externally-fitted, non-concrete cladding. There has been no external cladding as part of Lewisham Home’s Decent Homes work or during the time Lewisham Homes has managed the properties (Lewisham Homes has only been in existence over the past 10 years).
(Note: Replies still awaited from Bromley / Croydon /. Lambeth / Southwark – Ed.)