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Safety checks following Grenfell Tower

21 June 2017

Our Cabinet have offered its condolences to all the families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and all those affected by the disaster.

The following statement was read by Cllr Jonathan Brooks, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Innovation, at today’s Cabinet meeting: 

  • The Government has requested Councils and Housing Associations to provide information in respect of their housing stock on the number of properties more than 18 metres high (six storey equivalent) and the use of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding. They also remind Councils and Housing Associations that they should be well advanced in checking that they have robust fire assessments for their stock.
  • We are no longer classed as a housing authority, having transferred the vast majority of our social housing stock to South Lakes Housing in 2012.
  • We are no longer an owner of social housing, the stock having transferred to South Lakes Housing in 2012.
  • We have sought and received assurance from South Lakes Housing that
    • They have provide a written response to the Government, confirming that they only have one building that could be considered to reach 18 metres in height and that it is clad in timber panelling.
    • SLH has not specified or installed any Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) in any of its buildings.  (Neither did we as the previous owner of the stock)
    • SLH conducted the last round of Fire Risk Assessments in March 2017 with only minor works identified which they are working to conclude in compliance with these assessments.
    • SLH has put a message of reassurance on their website and will be conducting more detailed liaison with their more vulnerable residents at Sheltered Housing Schemes, to discuss and allay any concerns that may have arisen following the tragic incident in London.
  • We have also approached the other RSLs with stock in the district and have received confirmation from Impact, Two Castles and Home Group that they have complied with the Government request for information and that fire risk assessments and procedures are in place. One property has been identified as being taller than 18 metres. There is no use of Aluminium Composite Material.
  • In addition to the stock of social housing, we have made consideration of the private residential stock in the District.
    • We have identified three residential blocks in the district of six storeys or more, all in Kendal.  Our private sector housing team have visited one site and are visiting another today, together with the Fire Service. Building Control are currently engaged with the third. We will update this position with the findings of the visits
    • Building Control have checked records for which we have acted as the building control inspector for residential properties four storeys and above and confirm that no Aluminium Composite Materials have been installed.
  • We have a statutory role in licensing homes in multiple occupation where residents are on a third floor or above.  This function includes a requirement for fire risk assessment. There are some 50 properties in the District which are licensed. We will write to residential management organisations, including the HMOs, advising them of their responsibilities towards fire safety.
  • We are able to investigate and intervene in private sector housing where there is a reported concern of safety.
  • Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service have been in contact with our private sector housing team, confirming that they are able to offer any advice and/or assistance regarding any properties that may be classed as high rise (six floors or above). Advice could include evacuation strategies, Stay put Policies, Fire doors, compartmentation.

We have an up to date plan and procedure and are experienced in how we mobilise and respond at times of emergency.  We act as part of an integrated, multi-agency response which is continually improved in light of local and national experience and learning.