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SALFORD TOWER BLOCK CLADDING CRISIS WILL COST MILLIONS OF POUNDS AND COULD TAKE YEARS TO SOLVE
 

Star date: 20th July 2017

RESIDENTS COULD 'VOTE WITH THEIR FEET' AND LEAVE ADMITS COUNCIL LEAD MEMBER

The Salford tower block cladding crisis could take years to sort out and will cost millions of pounds that the Council doesn't have, civic leaders told a full meeting of Salford City Council yesterday as they criticised the Tory Government's response post-Grenfell.

Meanwhile, as concrete boards are starting to be installed over exposed insulation on the blocks, Lead Member, Bill Hinds, said residents could start "voting with their feet" and leave their homes.

Full details here...


Residents 'concerned and scared and afraid'...


The utter confusion and mess created by the post-Grenfell tower block crisis took another turn at yesterday's full meeting of Salford City Council, when civic leaders admitted that solving the cladding problem could take years, cost £millions that the Council doesn't have, and might lead to people losing confidence and leaving the blocks completely.

"It is going to cost millions and millions of pounds" said Councillor Bill Hinds, Lead Member for Finance "There is a worry where the money is going to come from... we've got a serious problem here that will go on and on and on...It's the biggest single crisis that I've ever known in that sense.

"The time will come when they [residents] want to come out, and who is going to go in?" he asked "We've already got a housing crisis in this city where there are not enough homes for people, so if they vote with their feet...and I hope they don't...but it could happen and we've got to be ready for that."

The Tory Government and Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, were repeatedly criticised by councillors for 'contradictory advice' and refusing to confirm any finance towards the cladding safety operations

"The Government has behaved appallingly...we don't know where the money is coming from to continue the work to re-clad or re-render; whatever we do is going to cost a lot of money and as a city council we don't have that sort of money" said John Warmisham, Councillor for Langworthy which includes the nine tower blocks managed by Pendleton Together.

"I think we did the right thing in the way we acted, and I think we've been rightly congratulated for it" he added "Residents in Pendleton have been absolutely superb. Obviously they're really concerned and scared and afraid but I think the communication strategy we got out, working as a council with our local housing associations that run the blocks, we managed to allay people's fears....The way Councillor Merry has been handling the 'gold meetings', getting information out to ward councillors and to the public has been second to none..."

Deputy Mayor, John Merry, who is chairing the 'gold meetings', where the council and housing associations meet 'with advice from technical experts and the fire service', told councillors that, as of yesterday, concrete panels were being installed to protect the insulation on the exterior of the Pendleton blocks.

A previous Salford Star article quoted both the Government and fire service explaining that leaving insulation out in the rain could compromise fire safety. These insulation panels have been out in the rain for around two weeks (see previous Salford Star article – click here)

Meanwhile, nothing was said about the Salix Homes blocks, and little about City West blocks. Tory Councillor, Robin Garrido, who is a board member of ForViva, the holding company of City West, gave no new information, except to say that "We've made sure residents have been communicated with every step of the way" adding that this had "helped to create the right atmosphere and to allay people's fears."

City West, he informed, was to carry out its own 'expert report' before the end of the week. Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, said that the Council had commissioned an independent investigation into the procurement of the cladding materials and "the findings we will be making public".

The Council's initial independent fire safety report on the nine Pendleton blocks by Trident was never made public. Nor were the Government findings made public on the testing of materials on Salford blocks, despite promises.

John Merry added that, having reviewed all the documentation on the cladding process, there were "only two alternatives" to explain the mess...

"It was very clear about the specification required for the cladding to go on the blocks" he said "Either whoever put them on failed to procure the right ones in accordance with the specification. Or that somehow the regulations were defective, and that although these things met the regulations it doesn't necessarily mean that they didn't have any fire risk attached to them."

The person in overall charge of the Pendleton Together regeneration at the time was Paul Longshaw, then a Salford City Council officer, who subsequently left the Council, became Labour Party councillor for Langworthy, and is now Lead Member for Housing.

The Salford Star understands that Councillor Longshaw has been removed from any involvement surrounding the cladding crisis on the nine Pendleton blocks. As Lead Member for Housing he has made few statements during what Councillor Hinds calls "the biggest single crisis that I've ever known".

It is hoped that when Salford City Council's 'independent investigation' into the procurement of materials is made public, the role of Councillor Longshaw will not be airbrushed out...

...The Salford Star also understands that, originally, a material called Chameleon was considered for the cladding of the Pendleton blocks but, in the end, a product called Alucobond Spectra was used. This is a similar appearance to Chameleon but is an ACM, or Aluminium Composite Material, that subsequently failed Government fire safety tests. It is hoped that the 'independent investigation' will also look into this.

Keith wrote
at 10:19:50 on 23 July 2017
If only there were other affordable places to go to. The majority of us have no option but to stay.
 
Salfordian wrote
at 06:56:19 on 23 July 2017
Moved out already. Don't trust these charlatans and social cleansers with my life.
 
Salford lad wrote
at 06:37:11 on 21 July 2017
Well well well, the labour groups golden bollocks council officer appears to have been found wanting! Justice at last for someone I always thought was rather toady .
 
Cladding Wonder Woman wrote
at 06:36:43 on 21 July 2017
We all seem to be obsessed with the issues surrounding cladding, but in Arthur Millwood, there are many, many, many more fire risks. Badly fitted doors, that have large gaps all the way around the door frame, fire doors that either don't close or don't open and false ceilings to hide the pipes, which in a fire, will also add to the chimney effect. Then is anti graffiti varnish put on the walls, which when burnt, gives off toxic fumes, the part plastic part metal letter boxes which have been placed on most people's front doors and absolutely no fire extinguishers above the ground floor. The water pressure to supply the dry riser water units has inadequate pressure, so if the firemen were to connect their hoses, there would be very little water coming out of them. The list goes on and on and on. I have not lived in Arthur Millwood very long, but I do understand that after the refurbishment of my tower block was completed, a complete fire check was done and signed off by the local Fire Brigade. So who did they hire to do the checks? Stevie Wonder perhaps!!! Then you add the dangerous cladding combined with a gas powered communal heating system and what you have is a fire trap. I'm just so utterly disgusted at how any landlord can treat their tenants in this way. I'm already looking for a new property and intend to use my feet as well as my head. I would love to use my name on this site, but my neighbour made me aware that there is a lad in the opposite tower block that is constantly being threatened with eviction for complaining. So if you cannot complain and your landlord does not listen then you have no choice but to leave. Shame on all of those involved in the refurbishment of my tower block.
 
bob wrote
at 20:49:25 on 20 July 2017
Cllr Hinds is right, 100% right. These affected residents should vote with their feet. They should use their feet to boot these useless turds up the backside and get rid of the lot of them and take control of the blocks themselves.The law is perfectly clear on this matter. These residents could have a TMO to run these blocks with full powers to do what is necessary to bring them up to the right standard. Ah!! say all the doubting Thomas's wasn't that Grenfill block one of them TMO things. well yes it said it was in its name, but it was as much a TMO as hitlers national socialists were a socialist party. If these residents need advice , there is a group called red something or other, (i will try and remember them later) . The thing is, people cannot organise themselves, or do not want to. Housing is a simple problem made hard by experts. It is further complicated by gullible people who like to believe these experts and all their bullshit. Anyone who stands up and questions these experts is treated like some sort of heretic. Why don,t these clowns tell us how much they paid for these cladding systems? what is the big secret about costs. i know that on some, they paid twice twice as much per square meter as others did on similar blocks. these people fell for slick marketing, and they fell in a big way. How worse is all this going to get?
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 20:18:18 on 20 July 2017
In the past the tower blocks had a residents committee. If they have then all get together and demand a public meeting with the landlords,council officers and your ward councillors. Most people now have access to the Internet,email your ward councillness. There are 3 per ward and demand they agreed. In fact demand they attend the meeting. They are quick at asking for your vote. Well now make them work for your vote.I am more than willing to help in any way I can. You all need to have face to face communications to know where you stand and what they are going to do. This is not a bloody few leaking taps. It's a bloody leaking death trap.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 16:02:16 on 20 July 2017
See Jon Smith's comment below - Printed it deliberately to see what the reaction of residents would be to these claims. Council meetings these days are just full of councillors patting themselves on the back, with no opposition or challenge
 
Jon Smith wrote
at 15:57:44 on 20 July 2017
I don't know who Councillor John Warmisham has been speaking to, as no one in Thorn or Spruce have seen him or any other Councillors around here asking how residents fill, and as for allaying peoples fears, he is just blowing smoke up the medias arse, he and other councillors need to come and talk to residents who live in tower block in Pendleton, high rise not low rise. in your item you say that that Deputy Mayor John Merry told councillors that, "as of yesterday, concrete panels were being installed to protect the insulation on the exterior of the Pendleton blocks" I and a number of other residents were out on the estate yesterday and could see no work being carried out on any of the blocks. Maybe its the invisible man and his invisible work force who are doing this.
 
Cladding Wonder Woman wrote
at 15:57:33 on 20 July 2017
There are many things the Tenants of the Salford Council could do. The first thing would to be to go to the homeless department and claim they are unintentionally homeless. This would be because they are living in accommodation that is no longer covered by landlord insurance, which every landlord has to have in order to rent their property to a tenant and you are all living in a building that is completely unsafe in the governments eyes, which could lead to your death, if you carried on living there. I live in Arthur Millwood. We too have the wrong cladding, but the landlord refuses to remove any further panels, because the new Goverment legislation is not clear. I've now read it, it states the following.... If your tower block is above seven floors and has a gas fitted system or gas within the property, your cladding must go. If you do not have a gas powered system within or on top of your tower block, the cladding can stay. What is so hard to understand :) The Grenfell Tower Block only went up in flames quickly because there was a combination of Combustable Gas & A Highly Flamable Cladding System. Take one part of that equation away, your tower block is completely safe. Put the two together, then your possibly in trouble. My advise would be as dangerous as things are, to stay in your tower block and insist on seeing the landlords "Landlords Insurance Policy". If they don't have one, then they cannot rent their property and they are in breach of tenancy. If they have breached your tenancy, you are by law entitled to be relocated to another suitable property, which is covered by a "Landlord Insurance Policy" and because you have had to leave your home through no fault of your own, they must give you a "Relocation Grant" or a "Disturbance Grant which can be up to £5000 - £6000. So there are a couple of choices, but all the tenants must be on the same side. Whatever the majority of tenants decide, stick too your guns and confront your landlord politely but directly.
 
On the money wrote
at 15:56:02 on 20 July 2017
Maybe if the knob heads had not let developers off with planning fees, thrown money at the BBC, Salford Reds, Peel and any chancers who come to the city becasue they are an easy touch, they might have some money. Hinds, Warmisham and Merry = buyers of magic beans
 
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