GRENFELL TOWER URGENCY AWARD
SALFORD CITY COUNCIL
Back in June, following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, Salford residents living in high rise blocks were understandably shocked and frightened when it was revealed that lots of the city's blocks had similar dangerous materials wrapped around their buildings (see here).
Indeed, it was subsequently revealed after Government fire safety tests that 29 Salford blocks had failed fire safety tests – the most in the whole country (see here). Included in there were the nine Pendleton blocks owned by Salford City Council and managed by Pendleton Together.
Towards the end of June, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, held a press conference that drew national attention, stating that "immediate steps" were being taken to remove the cladding and that "There will be no waiting around in Salford whilst there are any questions about the safety of our residents..."
Indeed, two days later, workers arrived and began removing cladding from a few lower levels, in a further photo opportunity for the media...and once the cameras had gone, so, more or less, were the workers...
"They have gone as high as they safely can and we are now waiting for specialist equipment to come on site to continue the work which we hope will arrive tomorrow" said Dennett.
'Tomorrow' never really came. While some cladding was subsequently removed, huge swathes of the dangerous cladding was left on the buildings. And where cladding had been removed, the underlying insulation was left exposed for weeks and weeks, despite warnings that the insulation (the same as used on Grenfell - see here) could be just as hazardous as the ACM cladding (see here).
Experts also warned that leaving the insulation out in the rain could compromise any fire retardancy it had (see here). As far as residents can make out, 'safe' cement boards were then overlaid on top of the possibly compromised insulation foam.
Meanwhile, residents complained, and a Salford Council Cabinet member ensured more panic as he said it could be 'years' before the problem was solved and that residents could vote with their feet and leave the blocks (see here and see here and see here).
A few days before Christmas, Salford Council and Pendleton Together Operating Limited put out a further press statement that they had "put together a programme of fire safety works" to "begin the works next year"...
"The next steps in 2018 include a design period, including testing of the permanent replacement cladding for the blocks" it explained "The design stage will explore the best sprinkler system to suit the blocks so that they can be installed while other works are taking place."
Deputy Mayor, John Merry, added: "I would like to wish all the residents of the nine blocks a safe, peaceful and Merry Christmas and thank them for their patience..." – which certainly didn't please one resident of the blocks...
"All they have done is agreed to work together to put a framework in place" says Kevin "And they say that the framework will start to be put together in 2018; Jan, Feb or Dec? And that could be dragged out until the end of the year and beyond, with no actual work taking place.
"Meanwhile as everyone involved in the 'framework' continues to live in their nice accommodation, we are still in a fire trap, with fire patrols allegedly diminishing in frequency and performance" he adds.
The point being that if the cladding system wasn't safe in June and "there will be no waiting around", why is the stuff still up there?
"It seems the areas where everything is being held up and delayed is with the people put in charge to 'manage' the project" Kevin explains "They fail to see the urgency in resolving the issue and getting the solution in place..."
It could be worse. Residents could be living in a Salix Homes block where almost nothing has been done at all in relation to the cladding, with the company merely stating "We anticipate this work to the affected cladding systems will begin early in the new year..."
In the meantime, everyone's just keeping their fingers crossed. Salix was a top contender for this Grenfell Tower Urgency Award but was pipped by Salford Council for its constant stream of hype...announcements and action only seemed to happen when tv cameras and documentary teams were in town.
So, ladies and gentlemen, throw your fire buckets in the air, don't get alarmed and certainly don't strike up the band for the bright sparks and winners of the 2017 Salford Star Mary Burns Grenfell Tower Urgency Award...
Salford City Council!!!
If someone from Salford Council would like to make an acceptance speech please use the comments box below
Winners of 2017 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards...
Feed The Rich Award (part 1) – Fred Done – click here
Disappearing Salford Award – Villafont – click here
Dick Turpin Award For Services to Bridge Hold Ups – Peel Holdings – click here
Carly Simon Award For Vanity – Councillor Derek Antrobus – click here
Feed The Rich Award (part 2) – Conservative Government and the HCA – click here
Corbynista Council of the Year – Salford City Council and Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett – click here
Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government – Salford City Council – click here
Shameful and Unacceptable Practices Award – Greater Manchester Police – click here
Self Destruction Award – Salford UKIP – click here
Our Friends In The North Memorial Prize – Salford City Council – click here