Last week I was a member of the Salford delegation that attended a Fuel Poverty Action demonstration outside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, where those of us living with Grenfell-style cladding demanded action from the Government.
It was followed by a march to Parliament and reception inside attended by Kensington and Chelsea MP, Emma Dent Coad, and Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey. Present, were tenants from the Pendleton Together blocks and other affected towerblocks, and Salford UNISON's Steven North.
The MPs faced questions regarding ongoing concerns about the condemned cladding following the Grenfell fire in London, and Mark, from Holm Court TARA (Tenants and Residents Association), asked why Rebecca, Salford councillors and Pendleton Together have ignored residents for a year and a half.
We were promised that the cladding would be removed as a matter of urgency but to date most blocks have only had materials from the bottom three storeys removed, except for one medium height block where workmen are taking their time. This leaves two 22 storey blocks and two 11 storey ones where residents, some disabled or with babies and young children, still fear for their safety.
Rebecca agreed that not enough had been done. For the last three months she had been trying to arrange a meeting with residents through Pendleton Together but the company had repeatedly ignored her requests. It had got to the stage where the MP even escalated her request through the city councillors but to no avail...
"If I, as your MP, am being ignored on this matter by Pendleton Together, then how local residents are feeling about their treatment I cannot contemplate" she said.
Rebecca has promised to have a meeting with myself, as the suspended chair of Malus Court TARA, and Steven North of UNISON in the next few weeks to pursue the matter.
While the Salford MP is being blanked by Pendleton Together, the Salford Star is also being ignored, as an email asking for the release of the Trident safety report on the blocks, commissioned by Pendleton Together in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, has had no response. This, despite assurances by Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, that the sections of the report that aren't subject to litigation between Pendleton Together and its sub-contractors Keepmoat should be released to residents and the media.
Meanwhile, the Malus Court TARA is suspended by Pendleton Together, we can't meet in our community room and residents are still being left in the dark over major safety concerns. The lack of accountability at Pendleton Together is shocking...
Words by Graeme Langton
Photos by Ewan Quayle (Salford Now)