GRENFELL TOWER MEMORIAL AWARD
SALFORD CITY COUNCIL, CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT AND PENDLETON TOGETHER
Ladies and gentlemen, 18 months on from the Grenfell Tower atrocity, and next to nothing is happening around the nine Salford blocks owned by Salford City Council and managed by Pendleton Together.
For the first time, a Salford Star Mary Burns Award is to be shared by three bodies, each as useless as the next, as documented by a zillion articles on this site...
Where does one start in this company's shameful reaction to its own tenants' fears? By suspending elected residents groups which highlight dangers in the blocks? By changing the locks on community rooms so they can't meet? By withholding a report on safety issues in the blocks by saying it's not a 'report'?
All this and more has been highlighted over the last twelve months. As Graeme Langton, the suspended chair of Malus Tenants and Residents Association wrote in September...
"Residents' concerns should be taken more seriously, because as we saw with Grenfell Tower, people died when authorities didn't listen to them! Large numbers of residents were constantly informing Pendleton Together of the deficiencies in a lot of the work undertaken by Keepmoat. But these concerns went both unbelieved and unactioned with residents seen as ungrateful or habitual complainers.
"The housing provider has lost the good will of residents through their many failings and deafness when it comes to the residents' concerns" he added "There now needs to be more openness and transparency around Fire Inspections and Risk Assessments."
In yer dreams! Both the residents and the Salford Star have been trying to get hold of a report on safety issues carried out by consultants, Trident, shortly after Grenfell...
"A year ago Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett, came to our community room and said we would get the Trident safety report within a month and we still haven't got it" Graeme told the Star "We still don't know what the issues are here because that Trident report would have been damning and we need to see it..."
Indeed, after constantly dodging demands for the report, the Council recently stated that it was commissioned by Pendleton Together Operating Limited (PTOL) and therefore its release was up to that company...although both the City Mayor, Paul Dennett, and Deputy Mayor, John Merry, told residents and the Salford Star that, while details were to be used in litigation cases, they had no problem with its conclusions being released.
Except that nothing has been released, with PTOL now denying that it is a report... "There is no Trident report" a spokesperson for the company told the Salford Star in November "Trident are advising on a number of building issues, but are not producing a report..." (see here)
No, no, no... "It's a series of surveys that PTOL compiled in terms of the state of the various blocks" Deputy Mayor John Merry told a Council meeting "What they have offered to do, and I think that's been communicated adequately in the press and elsewhere, is to share the conclusions of that report with individuals who want to contact them, and I think that's a perfectly fair response." (see here)
Except that still nothing has been released..."It is not a magic bullet that is going to tell people things, I don't think, that is not already obvious to the residents, that there have been issues" Councillor Merry added "It's not going to identify any particular new issues as far as I'm concerned. It is going to identify issues around what needs to be done to tackle it..."
When is a report not a 'report'? When it's a series of surveys with a conclusion! And when the semantics are over, it's the residents who are living in these dangerous blocks and they still haven't seen, in writing, how bloody dangerous they are. The only conclusion is that a cover up is going off...
The big lesson from the Grenfell tragedy was that the management company didn't take notice of tenants' safety concerns. Hello! A year and a half later and the same appears to be happening in Salford.
Even Salford and Eccles MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey was forced to respond, telling tenants...."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..." (see here)
Just before Christmas, Pendleton Together issued a bulletin to tenants stating "It is intended that works to replace communal firedoors will commence in April 2019"...in April 2019!!! Almost two years after Grenfell!
The company added that "We are now in a position where we will be inviting companies to design and tender to undertake a programme of cladding replacement".
PTOL's accounts state that this external cladding work,won't be completed until 2021, while other internal fire safety measures won't be complete until 2022! (see here)
Salford City Council and the Conservative Government
Tweedledum and Tweedledee, or Punch and Judy (take your pick) have been at each other's throats all year...First, Salford Council announcing it was loaning £25million to PTOL to do the work, with the Tory Government responding that they couldn't do that as it was a 'Private Finance Initiative', or PFI. The clue was in the word 'Private'. Neither could the Council access the £400million Government fund for the work as it would essentially be subsidising a profit making company.
This time last year, Deputy Mayor and cladding tsar, John Merry boldly announced that he was "fairly confident" that new cladding would be put on the nine Pendleton tower blocks, beginning in March 2018. He added that residents' safety had been put "top of the list...I don't think anyone can complain". (see here)
And when they do complain, it falls on deaf ears. Some questions...
Why isn't Salford Council, as the contracting body for Pendleton Together, kicking that company up the arse demanding that it stops intimidating residents who complain about safety?
If Pendleton Together won't release the Trident safety report, why isn't the Council releasing it?
If there is litigation going on between the Council and Pendleton Together and contractor Keepmoat, where are the details?
Where cladding has been stripped in one block, Plane Court, residents have told how they are freezing (see here). The Council has stated that it will help with extra heating payments – where are the details so that tenants know how much heat to use without bankrupting themselves?
Why does Salford Council only appear to be doing something when there are tv cameras around?
Meanwhile, what can you say about this hopeless useless Tory Government? Why is it taking so long for proper safe guidelines for cladding installation? Why has no-one been prosecuted yet over Grenfell? Why is everything being kicked into the long grass?
In December, the Government announced that it "plans" to implement the changes called for by Dame Judith Hackitt, and has launched 'a full review of fire safety in building regulations' by issuing a 'call for evidence' that "will gather expert advice on the full range of fire safety issues to enable guidance to be revised". Just how long is this taking? More reviews, more evidence gathering...more waiting, while tenants are living in dangerous blocks – and they aren't even being told how dangerous they are...
So, ladies and gentlemen, scream 'Sort it out you knobheads!' from the rooftops for the triumvirate of inept...and the joint winners of the Salford Star Mary Burns Grenfell Tower Memorial Award...
Pendleton Together, Salford City Council and the Conservative Government!!!
If someone from these organisations would like to make an acceptance speech, please use the comments box below...
Main photo shows sticker on bus stop at Salford Precinct opposite the Pendleton blocks
See Other Winners of the 2018 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards...
The Donald Trump Award For Media Dissing - Charlie Winstanley - click here
Disappearing Salford Award – Urban Splash/Alliance Investments – click here
Feed The Rich Award - Fred Done - click here
Universal Catastrophe Award – Conservative Government – click here
Real Digital Council of the Year - Salford City Council - click here
International Award – Manchester City Council - click here
Cuadrilla Award for Attempted Protest Stifling - Bellway Homes - click here
Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government - Salford City Council - click here
Radio Ga Ga Nursery Award - Salford City Council - click here
Art Appreciation Award - Salford City Council - click here