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Updated statement following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower

26 July 2017

In the aftermath of Grenfell Tower and the government’s requirement on councils to provide information on the use of Aluminium Composite Materials, Councillor Jonathan Brook, our Portfolio Holder for Housing and Innovation, gave the following update at Full Council held on 25 July:

With regard to social housing:

  • We are no longer an owner of social housing, the stock having transferred to South Lakes Housing in 2012. We have two residential houses and a small homelessness hostel, all held through the General Fund.
  • We have sought and received assurance from South Lakes Housing that:
    • They have provided a written response to Government, confirming that they only have one building (Yewbarrow Lodge) 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 social housing providers with stock in the district and have received confirmation from Impact, Two Castles and Home Group that they have responded to the Government request for information and that fire risk assessments and procedures are in place. One property, Kirkland View in Kendal (Impact Housing), has been identified as being taller than 18 metres. There is no use of Aluminium Composite Material.

As a responsible Housing Authority:

  • We have made consideration of the private residential stock in the district.
    • We initially identified three residential blocks in the District that may be considered to have of six storeys or more, all in Kendal. Cumbria Fire Service recently declared that one is of six storey construction, Sand Aire House. 
    • The Fire Service, together with our private sector housing team visited Sand Aire House on 21 June and undertook a fire safety audit.  Our private sector housing team visited another property on 20 June.  The third property is currently undergoing works and subject to inspection by our Building Control team. No Aluminium Composite Materials are used in any of the three buildings.
    • 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.
  • With regard to our statutory role in licensing homes in multiple occupation, there are some 50 properties in the district which are licensed. We have written to residential management organisations, including the HMOs, reminding and advising them of their responsibilities towards fire safety.
  • We will continue 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).

Emergency planning and response

  • We have an up to date plan and procedure and is experienced in how it mobilises and responds at times of emergency. (Most recently in the floods of December 2015). We act as part of an integrated, multi-agency response which is continually improved in light of local and national experience and learning.