High rises checked for fire safety

By Joe Sweeney | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Fire service officials in Wolverhampton are set to take a fresh look at safety regulations in the city’s 42 residential high-rise blocks, on the back of work already carried out by the council in the wake of the Grenfell disaster inquiry.

Liberty Heights student accommodation block in Culwell Street, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View

The checks follow a directive from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for all local authorities in the country to monitor fire risks in public and privately-owned buildings over 18 metres in height.

Wolverhampton has a total of 42 residential high-rise blocks – 36 of which are owned by the council and managed by Wolverhampton Homes. Five of the remaining six are privately owned and the other is a freehold council building on long-term lease to Sanctuary Housing Group.

Properties that have been subject to recent inspections include Liberty Heights student accommodation in Culwell Street, former office block The Studios in Birch Street, Hampton View, in Woden Road, Heath Town, and St Cecelia’s, Okement Drive, Heath Town – both of which are due to undergo work in the next few months.

Another priority property on the council’s list is Market Square Apartments in the city centre, which is due to have an initial fire safety audit next week.

In a report to the council, programme manager Jagtar Singh said: “Wolverhampton is ahead of other councils in its work to ensure the safety of those living in high-rise buildings.

“The programme team leading the work has been complimented on its proactive approach by a key external stakeholder.

“High-rise fire safety is planned and overseen by the Safer High-Rise Homes Group established in May 2018, and the group has coordinated a programme of fire safety inspections of the privately-owned blocks.

“This has involved close collaboration with West Midlands Fire Service to ensure that there is a coherent approach to planning of any enforcement action, carrying out remedial works and communication with the various stakeholders – including residents,” he added.

“We will continue to work with building freeholders and managing agents at each of the privately-owned blocks to implement the findings of the fire safety inspection reports.

“We will also instigate enforcement action against responsible persons where there is insufficient progress with remedial works.”

Joe Sweeney

By Joe Sweeney

Local Democracy Reporter covering Wolverhampton.

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