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Multi-agency response to high-rise fire safety concerns

A multi-agency task group is working to assess and deal with all issues relating to the safety of high-rise residential properties in Wirral in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Officers and elected representatives from Wirral Council, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Magenta Living, the largest social housing provider in Wirral, are working side by side to share all relevant information and deal immediately with any issues as they arise.

Officers from the fire service and Magenta Living have already carried out initial assessments and are reassuring residents, particularly those who live in high-rise properties, that their safety is the utmost priority.

Wirral Council’s housing team is contacting owners of privately-managed residential blocks in an effort to provide the same reassurance to people who live in those properties.

A high-rise property is defined as a building that is more than six storeys or 18 metres in height. There are 16 premises identified in Wirral as falling within this definition, eight are owned and managed by Magenta Living and eight properties are in private ownership. Wirral Council does not own or manage any high rise accommodation.

Initial assessment found that there is no aluminium cladding, such as that used at Grenfell Tower, on any Magenta Living owned properties. The inspections of the privately owned buildings is still ongoing, but no aluminium-type cladding has been found on those assessed so far.

Cllr George Davies, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety, said: “Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragedy in north Kensington. What happened has shocked the whole country and people are rightly asking a lot of questions about the safety of people living in high-rise accommodation.

“We have convened this joint task group to work around the clock to build a picture of the situation we have here in Wirral and take action immediately if and when it is required. The group is also receiving and assessing information and developments across the whole country and our work will be fed directly back to the Homes and Communities Agency and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

“Residents living in high-rise accommodation can be assured that their safety is our number one priority and everything that can be done is being done to make the buildings they live in as safe as they can be.”