Salford residents are living in constant fear that cladding could cause their building to go up in flames.
A BBC news programme last night showed how residents of a Salford tower block are fearing for their safety as potentially dangerous cladding has still not been removed from their building.
— BBC Radio Manchester (@BBCRadioManc) October 22, 2017
Inside Out North West spoke to residents of Canon Hussey Court, Islington Way, Salford, who discussed their concerns that their home could go up in flames, following the Grenfell tragedy on 14th June earlier this year.
One resident, Tom Nolan, 70, told Inside Out about his worry that he would have to move house if the issue was not addressed.
He said: “I love my Salford… I’ve finally got a home for 15 years that I’m proud of, so I don’t want to move, I just want to feel safe.
“Yeah, replacing [the cladding] would be a massive cost. But what comes first, money or lives?”
Salix homes, the home provider for Canon Hussey Court, began removing cladding soon after Grenfell but stopped in July claiming that they had, “unclear government advice”.
The Grenfell tower block disaster claimed up to 80 lives earlier this year when an electrical fire broke out in the building due to a faulty fridge.
Firefighters at the scene told how inexpensive, flammable cladding on the exterior of the building had caused the fire spread quickly and soon get out of control.
The same cladding, which is banned in Germany and The USA, was being used on the nine tower blocks in Salford that failed a fire safety test in June this year.
The material is now being taken off all of the council owned buildings in the city, with work on Spruce Court and Thorn Court almost completed.
However, despite Inside Out’s programme, it is clear that not everybody at Canon Hussey Court is worried about the situation.
One resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “to be honest there’s 4000 tower blocks in the UK and they’ve been here 50 – 60 years, and one has gone up in that time so it doesn’t really bother me to be fair.
“I’m completely comfortable with it, I think it’s just a massive over-reaction.”
When asked if they had been given a date for when the cladding would come down he said:
“It’s a fluid situation, even the government doesn’t know what they’re doing about it.
“You can’t expect them to say that it will be done by X date or Y date, it’s an unrealistic expectation.”
This was a view shared by a further occupant, Bosco, who simply said: “I’ll say it true, I don’t care.”
Another tenant, Mike, 45, shared the view that the building was safe.
He said: “We all feel safe here. There is a school next door and new houses being built just there. We all feel safe.
“Solid State (the safety contractors) are very good at their job. It was terrible what happened at Grenfell but here we have the best people for the job”
He went on to say: “They have installed new sprinklers and been into every room to make sure the fire alarms are working. They were in my flat last week.”
Listen to the interviews here:
This evidence would suggest that not all residents of Canon Hussey Court are as worried about a fire as Inside Out would suggest.
When asked for a comment on the situation, Salix Homes’, Chief Executive Lee Sugdan said:
“We are now starting to get some clarity, following Government testing, on the safest and most appropriate types of systems to replace the cladding on our affected tower blocks.
“As with many other housing providers across the country, we are currently taking professional advice from technical experts in government and the industry to develop a permanent solution to replace the affected panels. We will be carrying out this work as quickly as possible and aiming to keep disruption to residents to a minimum.”
“The safety of our residents remains our utmost priority and following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, we have been working very closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to establish a new standard of fire safety in our blocks that exceeds what is required.
“We are also carrying out a Safety Enhancement programme, across all of our tower blocks, which includes the installation of new state-of-the-art fire alarms in all flats and communal areas to ensure our blocks meet the highest safety standards.
“We would urge any residents with concerns to contact us on 0800 218 2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org ”
Read more about BBC Inside Out’s investigation here.