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SALFORD CITY COUNCIL COVER UP ON TOWER BLOCK CLADDING DETAILS
 

Star date: 12th September 2017

ALMOST THREE MONTHS AND STILL NO ANSWERS AS COUNCIL REFUSES TO DIVULGE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CLADDING DETAILS

Salford City Council has been delaying Freedom of Information responses for almost three months on the details of cladding materials used on its nine Pendleton high rise blocks and related emails.

The Salford Star submitted three Freedom of Information requests in June in connection to the cladding. The Council is supposed to respond within twenty days, but only one has been answered to date. The Star can only conclude that there is a cover up by Salford Council...

Full details here...


Government Fire Safety Report for Holm Court Salford
click image to enlarge

After the Grenfell Tower tragedy the Salford Star was promised that the process of investigating the cladding on Salford high rise blocks would be open and transparent.

Firstly, on 22nd June, after Theresa May had released a list of tower blocks and buildings with similar cladding to Grenfell Tower to 'councils, the fire service and constituency MPs', the Star wrote to the three Salford MPs asking for the details of the blocks affected...

Salford and Eccles MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey, responded that "I will let you know as soon as I find out. It's totally unacceptable to be kept in the dark by Government for this long!".

Nothing was ever heard again from the MP.

Meanwhile, Broughton and Blackley MP Graham Stringer didn't respond at all, and Barbara Keeley, MP for Eccles and Worsley South, stated that "I haven't received any letter from Sajid Javid about this, we are checking with his department this morning..."

Nothing was ever heard again from the MP.

With no actual details forthcoming at the time from the MPs, nor Salford Council, the Salford Star put in a Freedom of Information request on 26th June to obtain the results of the Government's fire safety tests on the nine Pendleton blocks owned by the Council, including Spruce Court, Thorn Court and Whitebeam Court.

No response was received until 9th August, almost six weeks later, despite Freedom of Information guidelines stating responses should be sent within twenty working days.

The Government fire safety test results on cladding of all nine blocks showed that they were in Category 3. The report stated: "Category 3 means "that it has no flame retardant properties".

The result is pretty horrifying but by the time Salford Council had released the information - with the caveat: "Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to you" – Government tests had already moved on to include the whole cladding structure including insulation, which the Council blocks also failed.

Meanwhile, on 27th June, the Salford Star submitted another Freedom of Information request, asking for all Building Control documents relating to cladding work done on Spruce Court, Thorn Court and Whitebeam Court, together with all documents relating to work passed by Salford Council or non-Council inspectors.

On 28th June the Salford Star submitted a further request asking for all the emails between Salford Council Lead Member for Housing, Paul Longshaw*, and staff/directors at Pendleton Together between 13th and 28th June.

Nothing was received, except an email dated 22nd August stating that "this request is continuing to receive our attention. We hope to be able to provide you with a full response by the end of the week..." No information was received by 'the end of the week'.

On 8th September, the Salford Star sent a further email to Salford Council – copied to Deputy Mayor John Merry - stating that if we didn't receive any response by 5pm last Friday we would have to assume some sort of cover up was going on.

The response from the Councils stated: "We are in the process of reviewing information held in relation to your request and expect to be in a position to respond to you early next week. Once again, we apologise for the delay in responding to your request which is due to the complexity and detailed consideration required..."

'Early next week' has now expired, so we must conclude that there is indeed a cover up of information relating to the cladding of the nine Pendleton high rises.

Salford Council's lack of response is being reported to the Information Commissioner, who had Salford Council on a special 'watch list' recently for not responding to Freedom of Information requests on time.

Most of the cladding is still on the nine Pendleton blocks, with residents not knowing how unsafe or safe it is to stay in the buildings.



* Paul Longshaw was unfortunately found dead at his home last week. An inquest is set for 5th December. See the Salford Mayor's tribute – click here

Michael James Felse wrote
at 3:54:16 AM on Sunday, September 17, 2017
I do not believe this to be a cover up. I am certain our elected Councillors of any party care about residents in Salford. And I am sure there will be different cost options. But I do think they could issue a self protect guide for high rise residents and could rank the danger risk of each block. I believe Party leaders May and Corbyn would be willing to listen and support workable options. This problem will not go away on its own. It needs real action.
 
cover up wrote
at 4:31:41 AM on Thursday, September 14, 2017
Salford council is top of the league when it comes to a cover-up, they are experts. Everything else they touch turns to Sh*t. Of course this is a cover-up, Salford now has more tower block death traps than all other councils put together and this is the third housing disaster in the city. The total cost may well be in excess of £100 million, where will this money really come from ? I am sure there are a number of very worried officers and councilors, shredding paper work. The information commissioner is a waste of time, salford council has been warned many many times and still they continue to ignore FOI request If a few more non labor candidates get in then maybe the whole rotten lot will be exposed
 
Wayne Tomlinson wrote
at 10:46:16 AM on Wednesday, September 13, 2017
I live in Cawdor house we have the same back from city West ad you all know the Salford City council do not care
 
Phantom Reporter wrote
at 3:03:38 PM on Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Quite agree with the Salford Star and Jon Smith, if there is a cover up by the council, the residents of the nine tower blocks need to get legal advice and maybe take action against the council for putting residents lives at risk. On one final point I take it the person who wrote " The cladding looks awesome. Leave it on and ban smoking inside the apartment blocks... " douse not live in any of the tower block? to make such a stupid remark, it's not a thing to be joking about you fool.
 
Jon Smith wrote
at 3:03:21 PM on Tuesday, September 12, 2017
I have also sent in a request under the freedom of information act, I have asked for the result's of the tests on our block (Thorn Court) and at the same time asked what tests if any had been carried out the concrete boarding that is being put up on Plain and other blocks, my request was sent on the 13/8/2017 via Pendleton Together and acknowledged by a manager advising me this request had been sent to Salford City Council the same day, so far I have received nothing. I shall also be making a complaint to the information commissioner if nothing is received by the end of this week, it's absolutely discussing that the Council treat its residents and the press in this way and hope the information commissioner takes steps to bring the council and councillors to book, its not the councillors who life in these fire traps, they have done almost nothing in the two tallest blocks, Spruce and Thorn apart from installing fire alarms and winging about flower pots being next to buildings, I'm not blaming Pendleton Together for the delay as everything I have requested from them has been delivered, but who do the council think they are with holding information that affects 1000's of residents lives. It's time for the residents of all the blocks to stand together and demand answers or to start getting legal advice to take action against Salford City Council.
 
Comun Cence. wrote
at 12:48:57 PM on Tuesday, September 12, 2017
The cladding looks awesome. Leave it on and ban smoking inside the apartment blocks...
 
Fed up Salford wrote
at 10:43:27 AM on Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Typical of the devoted Labour supporters who year in year keep voting these idiots in, people have very small minds and forget what this party have done to this city, they just don't care about its hostory or the people, be good to see if any councillors reply to SS, I've not seen my ward councillors in 2 years cannot get hold of them.
 
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