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SALFORD COUNCIL SET TO BORROW 25MILLION TO MAKE TOWER BLOCKS FIRE SAFE
 

Star date: 16th August 2017

25MILLION FOR NINE PENDLETON BLOCKS AS PUBLIC MEETING CALLED ON FIRE SAFETY

Salford City Council is set to borrow 25million in order to sort its nine Pendleton high rises, after they failed consecutive Government fire safety tests. Who ultimately pays for the work, a Council report states, is "likely to be the subject of dispute", although it believes that Pendleton Together is liable.

Meanwhile a public meeting for residents will take place next Tuesday, 22nd August at Salford Arts Theatre, with speakers from the Justice4Grenfell Campaign, Salford City UNISON and the Fire Brigades Union.

Full details here...


Salford City Council is to hold a special meeting next Wednesday to approve the borrowing of 25million in order to sort out the nine Pendleton high rise blocks it owns, which are currently managed by Pendleton Together.

The blocks, including Spruce Court, Thorn Court, Whitebeam Court and Plane Court, were amongst the blocks that failed the latest Government fire tests, which investigated both the aluminium cladding and insulation materials (see previous Salford Star article click here).

With more and more residents of these blocks speaking out in the media about their fears and anxieties (see here) the Council has been forced to act...

"The results of the above tests indicate that significant work may be required to be
carried out to all blocks including the removal and replacement of the existing
cladding to bring the blocks up to the required standards" states the report going to councillors "...the council is keen to ensure that necessary works are carried out as speedily as practically possible to ensure the safety of residents."

Which body is actually legally liable for the costs is in dispute because, although Salford Council owns the blocks, the report states that "management and maintenance of the tenancies is carried out through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) operated by PTOL [Pendleton Together Operating Ltd] and its sub contractors."

It calls the legal liabilities "complex" and "likely to be the subject of dispute"... before adding that "The council's position is that PTOL are liable under the terms of the project agreement for the remediation works..."

The Council already has a joint fund of 8million with Pendleton Together for 'immediate costs', with the Council putting in 5million and Pendleton Together 3million, but is looking to borrow 25million, at 1.25million interest per year, to forward fund the safety work.

The 25million borrowing and the interest payments would mean cuts, the report explains. It would breach the debt cap set by the Government if charged to the HRA (Housing Revenue Account) and would "exacerbate existing budget pressures within the long term HRA business plan"; and if "charged to the general fund the additional cost would increase the revenue budget funding gap in 2017/18 and future years unless significant reductions were made to existing capital investment plans".

The reports concludes that "Whilst the Council reserves its position in respect of legal proceedings, as with any funding there would be a risk that, if repayments are not made for any reason, the cost would ultimately sit with the Council".*

It adds that "Representation has been made to Department for Communities and Local Government to provide assistance in meeting any costs associated with essential works that fall upon the City Council."

While the Pendleton blocks are subject to most attention and cement boards have started to be fixed over insulation on Plane Court, there's been little information provided by City West Housing and Salix Homes on the blocks that they manage and own, which also failed Government fire safety tests.

There's been no information on the Salix Homes website for over a month, although metal boards have gone up over insulation on some blocks. Yesterday, City West did put a post on its site stating that only the Southway block has passed new Government tests, while the other 11 blocks failed...

"Where the cladding system has not met requirements, this is to one elevation of the Central Eccles blocks and to the top floor only of the Barton Village blocks" the company states "We plan to remove the cladding from the blocks in Central Eccles and are currently working to identify a suitable replacement in line with Government recommendations and expert advice. At Barton Village we are also seeking expert advice about next steps..."

A public meeting has been called for residents of all blocks in Salford, and everyone else in the community, at 6pm next Tuesday, 22nd August at Salford Arts Theatre.

The theme for the meeting is We Demand Safe, Secure Homes, and speakers will include a tower block resident and member of Salford City UNISON; Mark Rowe, Fire Brigades Union North West Regional Secretary; Hilda Palmer from GM Hazards Campaign, a member of the Justice4Grenfell Campaign and possibly Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett.

Salford UNISON, which is organising the meeting, states: "We need a full, immediate safety enquiry into Grenfell and every other block. We need full funding for any improvements including sprinkler systems, recommended by fire services. And we need to listen to tenants views on redevelopment and warnings about the risks to homes and lives."

UNISON also supports the following demands:

 * Government must pay for removal of all combustible cladding now. Clarification of what cladding, skirting and rendering is considered as safe. This should include information about any insulating layers that may be placed between the original walls and the facia material.

 * A full public fire safety review, including all specifications of works already done.

 * Suspend redevelopment works until we re-scrutinise plans and materials.

 * Re-instate independent fire safety inspection, with reports publicly available and enforced. Yearly review of building fire safety with findings legally binding for all new builds and all homes for rent.

 * Full government funding for all fire safety recommendations on social housing stock

 * Reverse the privatisation of health and safety, building control and materials research.

 * We demand landlords are made to listen - enforce a residents right to vote on any redevelopment plans.


Public Meeting
We Demand Safe, Secure Homes
Tuesday 22nd August 6pm
Salford Arts Theatre
Kemsing Walk (off Liverpool St) M5 4BS.

For further details see the Facebook event page Public Meeting Justice4Grenfell click here


* See also previous Salford Star article - Salford Council Could be In Huge Financial Cladding trouble - click here


Min wrote
at 10:40:40 AM on Monday, August 21, 2017
Please why is lady blaming man whose fridge Blew up its on print night of the silent walk saying he is Isis as he left with bag in hurry If it was my fridge I would leave to not want to be hated by the few left of tower block message is in print The Coments by her name was Peri Beri please read her comments it's somewhat harsh stuff she put on the wall Night of march after I said RIP how can they there spirits are Hounting the Comunity ??? Words close to that you can check all I wrote no disrespect except towords the Laughing icons on Daily Mail live stream during march

Mary ferrer wrote
at 1:32:05 PM on Thursday, August 17, 2017
We all know this must be put right,and as soon as possible.But surly the manufacturer and company that fitted the cladding are the ones to foot the bill.

Linny loo wrote
at 8:11:57 AM on Thursday, August 17, 2017
Hedley hooper your right. It's yet another case of voting on things they know nothing about. Thank you Salford Star for opening my eyes. I have learned a lot from you over the last 6 months

Kevin wrote
at 8:11:46 AM on Thursday, August 17, 2017
One name that doesn't seen to come up much in all this is Keepmoat, and I don't understand that. Surely a lot of the responsibility lies with them?

rotten wrote
at 8:11:43 AM on Thursday, August 17, 2017
Will the star be attending the meeting and will it be filmed or allowed, people of the UK need to see these shameful people. The council should now publish a list of those involved. Any money should be from councillors and officers

Cladding Wonder Woman wrote
at 8:11:31 AM on Thursday, August 17, 2017
I wish my Landlord would take a leaf out of the Salford Councils book. I live in Arthur Millwood and apart from them sealing a few holes up in our block internally, they have completely stopped stripping the flammable cladding. We have a high pressure gas pipe running inside our cladding system so in the event of a fire the block will blow up. Having to go to work and come home and have this on my mind every day is causing me to worry quite a lot. City West have completely stripped their cladding from their tower blocks. The Salford Council are stripping theirs, but our landlord obviously does not care about the safety of it's tenants. The whole thing is sick.

hedley hopper wrote
at 3:10:17 AM on Thursday, August 17, 2017
And Salford Council can not dare increase local taxes! If anyone should be surcharged, it is the individual officers and councillors of Salford Council and the "directors" of the "independent" Salix Homes who rubberstamped their approval for shoddy costcutting "improvements". Rest assured, Salford Councillors.....the clock is ticking....Salford Tax payers WONT support you any longer....YOU are responsible and accountable!

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