Wirral Council's Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety, Cllr George Davies, updated elected members on the work of the high-rise co-ordination group this week.
This is the text of the message he sent to all 66 Wirral councillors:-
As you will be aware, I have been chairing a co-ordination group to manage issues arising out of the terrible events at Grenfell Tower in London. This group brings together council colleagues from housing, emergency planning, asset management, building control and press/PR with officers from Magenta Living and Merseyside Fire and Rescue and we met for the second time this week.
I am writing to update you on these discussions and on the latest situation locally as I know many of you will be handling queries from concerned residents and will rightly want to provide as much reassurance as we can offer about their safety.
As is happening around the country, the work of the co-ordination group is focused at this stage primarily on identifying aluminium, or ACM, cladding on high-rise residential blocks – that is a building which is either 6 storeys and above or a minimum of 18 metres in height.
Magenta has assessed the 8 high-rise buildings it owns and confirm that none have been fitted with ACM cladding so there are no urgent concerns about the safety of residents in these properties.
The council’s housing team has identified the owners or managers of 8 privately-owned blocks in Wirral and has written to them to reinforce the government’s message that they need to check their own buildings. They have also been informed that if they identify anything of concern, the government is offering them the facility to have samples of their cladding tested for free by the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE).
In addition to the above, officers from the council’s housing and building control teams and the fire service have a programme underway to visit all the residential high rise blocks to undertake further checks. Officers will work closely with individual owners to investigate any concerns about external cladding and any remedial actions that are deemed necessary will be enforced under the most appropriate legislation.
The information-sharing between the partner organisations represented on the group has been very positive and actions are being well co-ordinated. We know that communications and messages of reassurance are very important in managing residents’ concerns and we will co-ordinate a regular supply of pro-active, updated information to Wirral residents and respond to specific enquiries and concerns as and when they are raised.
We are also in ongoing communication with the Homes and Communities Agency and the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure that all actions and decisions taken at a local level are consistent with what is happening with other authorities around the country.
I will continue to keep party leaders and all elected members regularly updated on these issues. If you have any specific enquiries in the meantime, please get in touch.
Cllr George Davies