Concern Will be Growing about Wirral’s High-rise Tower Blocks

liscard house wallasey

Liscard House appears to be safe

25th June 2017

Since the catastrophic loss of life at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, inspections of similar, potentially unsafe locations have been underway across the country.

Camden Council in London were very quick to spot the potential dangers and undertook urgent tests. These involved physically taking samples of ‘fireproof’ cladding from tower blocks and sending them to be examined at the Building Research Establishment in Watford.

Camden Council quickly discovered, on Wednesday evening 21st June 2017, that the cladding at blocks on the Chalcots Estate, although commissioned as ‘fireproof’, were in fact an inferior product.  In other words, they may have been duped – apparently by the same contractor / sub-contractor combination who fitted the cladding at Grenfell Tower.

Here on Wirral, statements were issued by Councillors Phil Davies (Council Leader) and George Davies (Deputy, Housing and Community Safety) at a Cabinet meeting on 19th June 2017, here:

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=6103&x=1&

However upon examining these statements, issued by email on 21st June, we found that there was no mention of reactive, independent testing and that they fell way short of providing instant reassurance to the relevant Wirral tower block tenants.

Eight of Wirral’s total of eleven high-rise tower blocks – not identified by name in the council statements – are run by Magenta Housing, the arm’s length organisation with control of the majority of Wirral Council’s former housing stock.

The remaining three are privately owned – also not named – but one of these is assumed to be Liscard House in Wallasey (see image above), which underwent renovation, including the retro-fitting of insulation cladding in 2011.  We were reassured here by Alumasc Facade Systems that the cladding used does not contain the ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) used at Grenfell Tower.

Two senior Wirral members and former leaders of their respective parties sit on the board of Magenta Housing: Councillor Steve Foulkes and Councillor Jeff Green.

foulkes and green on board of magenta


On 22nd June, we contacted our local councillor Adrian Jones (Chair of the Audit & Risk Management Committee) to advise him that public statements made so far appeared insufficient and that Camden-style physical testing may need to be undertaken.  He promised us he would follow it up.  We sent the following email at his request:

cladding email to adrian jones

The top two links quoted are here and here.

Time is of the essence, official information is still sparse and hard to come by, and as tenants await official reassurance, the questions left to be answered now are: 

  • How many Wirral people are potentially in danger?
  • Which high-rise towers are affected?
  • Who owns and runs these buildings?
  • How many more public and private buildings are implicated?
  • When will the promised “COBRA” meeting take place?
  • Will Wirral Council / Magenta Housing be commissioning Camden-style physical testing of existing cladding on their own high-rise buildings?
  • Finally, both Wirral Council and Mersey Fire Authority assure us that they have been undertaking annual safety inspections.  We will assume for now that these were successful and the cladding was safe, however…

…as we post this item, Camden Council have started evacuating up to 4,000 of their tenants and the seriousness of the situation has intensified.  See the following, which details how all 34 separate cladding tests undertaken by the BRE have failed.

*STOP PRESS* This failure rate has now risen to 60 samples, all failed.

Presumably the affected councils may well be evacuating huge numbers of their tenants over into secure temporary accommodation while their homes are made safe:


More on the Camden evacuation – including gas pipes not boxed in and the potential for exploding boilers:


Recent TV News coverage:

 

 

 

About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
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One Response to Concern Will be Growing about Wirral’s High-rise Tower Blocks

  1. Bobby 47 says:

    And, in forty years time when enough of the Grenfell Tower residents have died of old age, and after the national investigation has reached its conclusion and all the stones that they fancied lifting up to see what lay beneath were examined and of course dutifully orchestrated and directed to avoid and completely ignore the right stones that secreted the real culpable culprits from prosecution in this tragic episode of corporate manslaughter, some insignificant poor fool with a tool bet, a white van, a safety harness and a contractual tender that reads, ‘because your bid was so low you are now our preferred provider’, he’ll be the one held up to national scorn and blamed for affixing the cladding to these high rise dwellings to house the poor and be blamed for pretty much everything.
    And as he leaves the Dock to begin his pennance for ever scaling the bloody tower in the first bloody place to earn a crust, and because he’d run out of Barrister cash and plead guilty in his fight against the authorities who had millions of public money ready to fight their cause, the culprits of all political colours who are tied and bound to the ethos of Common rotten Purpose will howl, ‘we hope the bastard rots in hell. Lessons have been learned and from hereon we’ll ensure that the poor and the vulnerable are kept well away from the rest of us who responsibly chose to pay enough money for a luxury dwelling that was so well constructed it was highly unlikely to ignite beneath a lit flame.
    And as for the many annual memorial services that’ll surely follow this terrible event, where all of the great and the good desperately try to outcry one another just to display how good a human being they are and a host of pointless celebrities attach themselves to the grief just to get their bloody gong from the future monarch, they’ll be read passages from some holy book that brings comfort to the guilty and angst and frustration to all those that went to bed that terrible night believing that they were safe living in the richest city on Earth and there was indeed such a thing as Shared Values.

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