Southend Council Warns on Fire Risk

Southend Council is reaching out to private landlords with property investment in the area, to warn them to be considerate of fire safety issues following the Grenfell Tower disaster in London.

Southend Council has researched its planning and building control records in order to establish a list of high rise and tall buildings that have external cladding attached to them. They have then shared this list with the fire service and cross referenced with the records that they hold. This has led to the identification of a total of forty-eight buildings, 12 of which are encased in cladding.

Southend Council has also written to the Department for Communities and Local Government in order to seek their advice to establish the Government’s expectations of local authorities liaising with private sector property owners.

As a result of the discussion with the Department for Communities and Local Government, the council is in the process of writing to all private sector buy to let investors that were identified by its review. It aims to encourage them to reassure themselves that they have appropriate fire safety measures in place. They have warned them to consider both external cladding and internal measures and procedures to manage fire safety matters.

The Grenfell Tower fire occurred on June 14. The building was a 24-storey block of public housing flats in North Kensington. The fire caused the deaths of at least 80 people, and injured at least 70 others. A definitive death toll is not expected until at least 2018.

As of September 6, 2017, a mere 59 victims had been identified by the Metropolitan Police and Coroner. Occupants for 23 of 129 flats perished in the blaze. It is expected that around 255 people survived. Inquests for 57 known victims were opened and suspended at Westminster Coroner’s Court this summer.

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