Post-Grenfell fire review recommends £500,000 of safety measures in Calderdale

Councillor Tim Swift and George Paterson, Director of Property Services at Together Housing Group
Councillor Tim Swift and George Paterson, Director of Property Services at Together Housing Group

A REVIEW of council buildings across Calderdale in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire has recommended the authority spends £500,000 improving fire safety.

Calderdale Council called for a review of buildings after the London tower block fire in June, which killed at least 80 people.

Since the fire, the council has visited key buildings across the borough including high-rises, nursing and care home, and schools; removed cladding from tower blocks in Mixenden and assessed evacuation procedures.

The findings of the review, set to be discusses by the council’s cabinet on Monday, include a number of recommendations for the council, partner organisations such as West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Together Housing, which manages social housing in Calderdale.

They include fitting sprinkler systems, rigorous checks on multi-storey buildings, lobbying the government for funding fire safety measures and ensuring vulnerable residents in high-rise accommodation have a personal emergency evacuation plan.

Calderdale Council’s leader, Coun Tim Swift said: “Calderdale Council was one of the first local authorities in the country to launch a fire safety review to understand the implications of this tragic event at a local level.

“This thorough review has produced a strong set of recommendations which we can support, some of them directed at the Council and others at our partners.

“Together they are an important way for the Council and other organisations to ensure that local people are protected.”

The review recommendations are split into two sets of actions – those which the Council and its partner organisations can take, and those for landlords and managing agents.

George Paterson, Director of Property Services at Together Housing Group, said: “Together Housing has a large number of properties in Calderdale so our close working relationship with Calderdale Council has always been important and never more so following our joint review into fire safety.

“We have contributed extensively to the review and welcome its publication. We will continue to work with Calderdale Council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to ensure the safety of our tenants and their communities remains our top priority.”

Chris Kirby, Area Manager responsible for fire safety and protection, added: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is working with local authorities to prioritise the safety of occupants.

"We have carried out a number of joint inspections to premises where aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding is fitted and agreed interim measures with building owners to maximise occupant safety.

“We will continue to work with all local authorities and housing providers across West Yorkshire to assist and support them in their enforcement capacity and we continue to engage in partnership meetings to provide all the support we can.

"We have suitable operational procedures for dealing with any fires in high rise blocks and our firefighters are well trained in dealing with fires in high rise buildings.

"The vast majority of incidents we attend in high rise blocks are minor fires that are contained to the room or flat where the fire started and are extinguished quickly."