Star date: 17th January 2018


At today's full meeting of Salford City Council, Deputy Mayor, John Merry, said he was "fairly confident" that new cladding will be put on the nine Pendleton tower blocks, beginning in March. He added that residents' safety had been put "top of the list...I don't think anyone can complain".

John Merry disclosed that documentation relating to cladding on blocks owned by Salix and City West had been sent to councillors, although nothing has been published for the public. He added that a report into how the dangerous cladding was put onto the blocks in the first place will soon be available.

Full details here...

Freedom of Information Response email
click image to enlarge

Today, Deputy Mayor, John Merry, made no apologies for the length of time it is taking for the dangerous cladding to be removed from the nine Pendleton blocks owned by Salford Council...

"I'm acutely aware of the fact that we needed to come up with a solution that actually met the needs of the residents" he told a full meeting of Salford councillors this morning "There's no point in putting cladding back on in a very hurried manner that in three or four years time we suddenly have to take off again because there's a further scare about its safety...

"We have taken a little bit of time, and I regret that, but I think it was absolutely right to come up with a solution that will meet the needs of the residents" he explained "...We've reached agreement with PTOL [Pendleton Together Operating Limited], design work is underway and, following that, there will be a start in March, I'm fairly confident, to actually put the stuff on the tower blocks.

"People say 'Oh why has it taken so long?'" he added "Well, we've got to get the design right. If we actually fudge this or don't get it right, or don't do the required tests we would be failing in our responsibilities to residents who will be even more inconvenienced and put at risk."

Measures had been put in place during the period to keep residents safe, John Merry insisted, with a system of patrolling fire marshals and work on fire doors... "I don't think anyone can complain that the people who are directly involved are not being kept informed of the progress and discussions" he said.

Meanwhile, the Council has approved a loan to PTOL - part of the £25million loan the Council itself has taken out – to do the work, and this will be paid back with interest, said Merry.

"No-one has compromised their legal right, but rather than let this go to court now which could take three or four years to resolve, we thought we'd put it to one side for the moment and get on with the work and sort out the legal liabilities at a later stage" he explained "We will be working with PTOL to see if there's money they can recover from other people."

He also waded into Theresa May's false promise of helping to pay for the cladding work... "There are no resources available from central government" he said, accusing the Tories of "trying to wriggle out of any responsibility..."

While the Pendleton blocks should see work starting in March, Merry said that documentation had been sent to councillors relating to what the other Salford housing companies, Salix Homes and City West, are doing. This has not been published for the public.

Merry also promised that the Council would soon be in a position to give a report on what has been compiled about how the cladding got onto the tower blocks in the first place.

Making reference to a Salford Star Freedom of Information request for emails between Housing Lead Member, the late Paul Longshaw, and Pendleton Together, in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, John Merry told the Council meeting he was "disappointed" with the article that appeared.

"Understandably we had to comb through an awful lot of emails" he disclosed "First of all we wanted to make sure there was nothing of any personal nature that was being released but secondly we wanted to be clear on which ones needed to be released. And we did that to the Salford Star despite them complaining about the length of time it took...

"What did they find to complain about?" he asked "The only thing they could find to complain about was the fact that PTOL had decided not to talk to them, as though we had somehow told PTOL that they hadn't got to talk to them...

"It's remiss of the Salford Star" he added "I'm disappointed in this case to have at least made the point that following their inquiry that was the only thing that they could find to complain about, and they should have made that more clearer in the statements they made at the time."

A few things here. First up, what was the Deputy Mayor doing getting involved in a Freedom of Information request? They are supposed to be investigated by a neutral officer.

Second of all, after six months of waiting, only 14 emails were released, so the question has to be asked about what was held back. Thirdly, we did make it clear in the article that the emails we received showed no cover up...

And finally, John Merry scoffed at the notion that the Council had an agreement with the Pendleton Together not to communicate with the Salford Star..."as though we had somehow told PTOL that they hadn't got to talk to them...". That is exactly what the emails reveal in black and white..."As per our agreement with the Council we did not respond to the Salford Star..."*

The Salford Star is very disappointed that John Merry doesn't appear to be able to read...

*For more details see previous Salford Star articles...

Salford City Council Blocked Pendleton Together From Speaking To The Salford Star – click here

Salford City Council Wins Uncle Joe Stalin Award For Open And Democratic Government – click here

Felsey wrote
at 18:07:16 on 05 April 2018
Said it back in January. "It had better be this year or the May 2018 elections will be the people's mandate time to kick out Salford Labour right across Salford. We need to get back to engaging real socialism". Sorry Paul, I now must implement the 5 year plan of kicking out Labour. It starts now. It pains me to have seen the buildings today. I think the residents have given enough and put up with too much. Sadly Paul I see only one answer.
Bob The Builder – Master Builder and Politico-Socio-Economic Commentator wrote
at 12:22:27 on 05 April 2018
Me and Becky the Builder’s Assistant were sitting in my Yard’s office yesterday, doing filing – Becky doing her nails, me doing the invoices and mail when I came across a letter from Cllr “Maserati” Merry, offering me a contract to repair the cladding on Salford’s Tower Blocks, starting in March. I asked Becky if the contract had come through. Looking askance of me, and with the sunlight bouncing off her cherryred lips and beautifully mascara-ed lashes fluttering, Becky summoned up all the communication skills and responded with, “The real question you should be asking me is what is JerryBuilder Corbyn doing to make beautiful Salford even more beautiful, turning it into a paradise for wannabe working class southerners.” I knew it was a waste of money, financing her level one Politics qualification course! Having gotten such an helpful answer, I thought I’d ring the Cllr Maserati Merry to get a straight answer from him! Oh how misguided I was, later remembering that he was a supporter of Information Freedom (Salford style). “Hi Bob, sorry cant give you much time, Yes, I did say March and so did my letter…but I didn’t say WHICH March! And anyway, Salford’s problems will all disappear when we name it Brooklyn. Gotta go, Oh, dear me! Mayor Dennett will be here any second! Well, that’s it. March has come and gone. The fine words and promises made have disappeared. The tower blocks in the Precinct look a mess, and cladding has only been removed from the first 3 floors. Evidently, those floors must have been considered the most inflammable. But Albion Towers looks like a hive of activity, covered in scaffolding. I don’t know what’s happening there but it makes you wonder if one of its residents closes his eyes when leaving the building, when heading off to his Mayoral Office to dream up more ridiculous excuses and more ways to waste money. Interesting that Councillor Warmisham, up for election next month tweeted at 7:53pm yesterday, “Lots of concern from Albion Towers residents about lack of support from @Salix Homes during the current refurb. Langworthy labour councillors will be taking up various issues.” Makes you wonder WHICH resident!!!
Pay back wrote
at 18:46:14 on 29 January 2018
Could we accumulate money to pay back the loan from the manufactures and companies involved with fitting this inadequate cladding. Just a thought thank.
Felsey Warning wrote
at 10:26:53 on 21 January 2018
It had better be this year or the May 2018 elections will be the people's mandate time to kick out Salford Labour right across Salford. We need to get back to engaging real socialism.
Fairly Confident NOT wrote
at 08:09:24 on 21 January 2018
Well done Cllr Merry. Just so we can keep you to your word, March in which year, do you mean??
Felse Bingo wrote
at 17:05:14 on 20 January 2018
"BINGO!" A "tutor of the year" and a "Demand". If he comes back with an "Urge" today, I'm buying a lottery ticket.
Michael James Felse wrote
at 14:02:10 on 20 January 2018
I must further demand these residents get 100% rent free, covering weeks they have been left waiting for action. The rent free must continue until the works are fully approved by the Chief Fire Officer and Minister of State for Housing and Planning as part of that Tory Department's £22million "give back control to communities in developing Neighbourhood Plan". This is clearly an extension of times I consulted Government's Ministers about Community Cohesion which was an important part of me winning Tutor of the Year. I also demand the "Health and Safety at Work Act" that I compiled in 1974 for the Labour Government gets a Tory Government addendum to extend health and safety legislation into social housing and to ensure any abusers will be held to account.
Felse Bingo wrote
at 10:13:22 on 20 January 2018
"If I was mayor" -tick. "Applying to join another party"- tick. "Writing to Jeremy Corbyn" -tick. I need either a "Tutor of the year" or an "Urge or demand" before I can shout "Bingo!"
Michael J Felsey wrote
at 08:40:34 on 20 January 2018
If I was Mayor the local people would get an apology backed with compensation because I believe it the right thing to do. Already it is estimated Salford Council has shares in out of Salford wealthy investments while in Salford we are looking to borrow millions of pounds to replace the cladding. I think we need not borrow the money is we can sell assets. As for compensation I feel £8,888 each paid to coincide with a Chinese Nrw Year would be a good start in rebuilding public trust. As I apply to join Momentum I will also write to Mr Corbyn to invite him to Salford to address local people about the intentions of National Labour in how it will be solving homelessness that must become a party priority. This is one deal breaker in me deciding if I will rejoin Labour or not.
at 09:22:53 on 19 January 2018
Reading Kevin if he is Salford Labour member he is in the wrong party. Makes me realise what is wrong with the local Labour lot. It says one thing in election leaflets and does not deliver the goods. Time to give Michael Felse a chance. Can't possibly be worser.
Old Felsey's almanack wrote
at 06:56:48 on 19 January 2018
This year, Old Felsey will be demanding and urging. He will change the party he supports on at least a monthly basis. He will stand in several local elections and then find a reason to not stand. he will tell us what he will do if he is elected as Major. He will mention he is Tutor of the year regularly alongside what he wants Andy Burnham and Paul Dennet to do. New Year---same old crap from Felse.
Kevin wrote
at 06:56:19 on 19 January 2018
I haven’t seen anything that would make me vote for Mr Felse, especially with regards to this. How does asking Mr Merry to give £5000 compensation to those affected help anyone? How and where would this money come from? And what is your justification for that amount? All I can see here is classic braying of a wannabe politician, and with no real valued input to give. We don’t need another politician who just shouts out what others have done wrong, or criticises everyone else. We need someone who cares for Salford and it’s vommunities, and will get stuck in at the ground level and challenge the rights and wrongs before it’s too late. We need someone who isn’t afraid to say the things his constituents want saying, and to stand by those words. They need to be someone who wants to be a politician because they want to make changes and really truly care for everyone and everything to do with or part of Salford. They need to be able to be approachable, understanding Nd supportive of everyone from the young to the old. But they also need to be someone who is strong enough and have steel nerves to ensure that big businesses that are part of Salford pay their way, and actually provide more opportunities to those in the area in which they have set up shop.
at 20:48:51 on 18 January 2018
Felse stood for Labour in Boothtown and Ellenbrook. I remember it well he was a high flyer for Labour. It is a good job people like Michael keep shouting the toss otherwise this council will walk over us.
Kevin wrote
at 16:02:28 on 18 January 2018
Oh for goodness sake Felse, you don’t even live in one of these blocks and you’re sticking your nose into something again. You’ve got a nice flat on Salford Quays - what on earth has this got to do with you?
Bakunin wrote
at 16:02:14 on 18 January 2018
With regard MJ Felse, what he needs to succeed in local politics, are just three things. 1: Money. 2: Publicity. To become known as a Community Activist. 3: A group of people around him with various talents who are willing, for the good of Salford, to help Michael achieve some political success on the home front. With just these three things he would undoubtedly, within a very short period of time, be a Councellor at the very least. After all, if Wilson could make it with just 600 votes, how many more votes would Michael get if he had those three things that I mentioned earlier. Another thing, Michael would be well advised to set up his own local political party. It could be called something like Salford For All, and it's aim would be to appeal to everyone, be they indigenous Salfordians who are disillusioned by both the left and the right, or be they newly arrived immigrants. If he did this, success would assuredly some be knocking on Felse's door, and those plastic Socialists of Labour would soon be talking out of the other side of their mouths, while looking down at the floor.
at 16:00:43 on 18 January 2018
Correction to Rayofsunshine. Mr Felse got 470 votes standing as Labour Candidate against Garriddo in Boothstown 2004. Factual.
at 12:07:05 on 18 January 2018
OH, Please Mr. Felse. Don't rejoin the Labour Party. We can do without a political butterfly. Form your own party, with a membership of one. The I Demand Party.
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 12:07:01 on 18 January 2018
W.T.F - Michael, You're never been a Labouŕ candidate in Salford!
at 08:18:07 on 18 January 2018
I think the civic centre should be moved into these blocks that will be so safe. Not only will the civic centre actually be in Salford, rather than Swinetown, but they will also be much closer to the darling Quays and Media City.
Michael James Felse wrote
at 08:17:19 on 18 January 2018
Good news, thank you Mr Merry. I renew my demand for each of the tenants to get £5000 compensation for problems caused as I believe Salford Council needs to rebuild public support. Once I was proud to be standing for Salford Labour Party and maybe we are turning the corner of trust that could see me rejoin. Then will be the day to know Salford Labour has achieved the impossible. Labour could bring in a new dawn to make Salford great again.
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