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Article date - 11 October 2017
In the wake of the tragic tower block fire at Grenfell in June, the council and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service have undertaken a proactive programme of inspecting five high rise residential buildings in St Helens by following criteria outlined by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
As part of the inspection, the council was asked by the DCLG to provide the number of properties in the borough that stand more than 18 metres high, record properties that have been clad with aluminium type panels, and inspect those identified to establish whether they are panels made of an aluminium composite material (ACM).
The five residential buildings to be tested were:
· Curzon Place, Railway Street, Newton le Willows
· Arriva to Plaza, Hall Street, St Helens
· HQ Base 2 Apartments, St Helens
· HQ Base 1 Apartments, St Helens
· Bank House, Hardshaw Street, St Helens
Initial checks have indicated that none of the five residential buildings identified are cladded with aluminium composite material – and all five have had full fire safety audits carried out by Merseyside Fire & Rescue, accompanied by letting agencies and St Helens Council’s building control and private housing teams.
From a social housing perceptive, tests have concluded that External Wall Insulation (EWI) is also regarded as low risk in relation to fire and meets all necessary fire and building control regulations.
The Torus Group, who manage 14,000 homes across the borough, has recently joined the Primary Authority Scheme (PAS). The partnership is used by many national and regional organisations in both the public and private sector to provide additional assurance that its fire safety measures are robust.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Councillor Lisa Preston said: “The safety of residents is of the utmost importance so I’m delighted to see proactive work like this carried out which is a wonderful example of how effective partnership working can be.
“We all know that what happened at Grenfell was an awful tragedy and should never have been to allowed to happen in the first place. That’s why it’s absolutely vital to carry out these types of measures, and I’m pleased to see that we are compliant with the regulations.”
Group Manager Andy Groom from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service added: “The safety of the community is at the heart of everything we do at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.
“Following the devastating fire in Grenfell Tower we have worked extremely closely with St Helens Council and partner agencies to undertake important safety checks and to reassure and support any residents”.