It has been over one year since the heartbreaking scenes of devastation hit the news after a fire tore through a building wrapped in the same combustible cladding as used on many Salford residential tower blocks.
A resident of one of those blocks wrote into postbag to tell of his anger and upset at what he views as a lack of action by Salford City Council and Pendleton Together.
I am one of many residents who live in one of the Pendleton Tower Blocks that have similar cladding and insulation to the Grenfell Tower Block.
Shortly after the Grenfell Tower Fire, the Salford Mayor Paul Dennett announced to the media that all cladding from their nine blocks would be tested and if the tests failed it would be removed. In a later press release, it was revealed he was borrowing £25 million to replace the cladding.
Now over a year on from Grenfell, what has happened to the Nine Tower Blocks owned by Salford City Council and run by Pendleton Together?
1) Fire Marshals were put in the Nine Blocks to patrol 24/7. However, we have recently found out that the so-called Fire Marshals have only just recently had training for doing this job. What training we don’t know.
2) Salford City Council/Pendleton Together removed the unsafe cladding from all Nine Blocks, but only the first three floors of each block and replaced it with what Salford City Council and Pendleton Together told residents was a safe boarding.
3) Pendleton Together then told residents to remove all doormats from outside their doors (most doormats are or were fire resistant). If the mats were not removed, the cleaning teams were told to remove them and they were then binned without any further notice to the residents.
4) Pendleton Together then told vehicle owners they could not park in the first two parking spaces that were closest to the building. Every block was supposedly told this, however, if you go round the blocks you will see this is not enforced on all blocks. It is on Thorn but not on Spruce where cars are parked within a couple of feet from the building wall and the same applies to some of the other blocks in the square.
5) The residents of Thorn were also told to remove plastic flower pots from alongside the building. When asked why we were told they could catch fire. Also, chairs and tables were removed from the community garden for the same reason and that the fire service had told Pendleton Together to enforce this. However, when the fire service was asked about this by residents, the residents were told that they had not told Pendleton Together this and that Pendleton Together has taken it upon themselves to implement the rule.
6) Salford City Council and Pendleton Together then decide to install fire alarms in the Tower Block but these are as much use a fire extinguisher that is empty! Why? Because the fire alarms were placed in the stairwell and not on landings, there is a fire door on each landing that acts like a sound buffer so most residents cannot hear the alarm in their flats when they are tested each week.
7) Salford City Council and Pendleton Together in their ultimate wisdom have decided to install new fire alarms and sprinklers in every flat. That consultation was months ago but as they say, silence is golden and in Salford City Councils and Pendleton Together case the silence is deafening. We the residents have not been told if this is going to happen and if so when it will happen. And who at the end of the day is going to be picking up the cost of redecorating residents flats when every room is going to be affected?
Pendleton Together is constantly telling us that the safety of their residents is a top priority. Well, it seems something has been lost in the pipeline with their own policy. On Friday the 6th July 2018, one of the hottest days so far, some bright spark from Pendleton Together decided to remove fire extinguishers from the nine blocks that still have the unsafe cladding on them. And no one from Pendleton Together had the decency to contact any member of the resident's committee of Thorn Court to inform them that the fire extinguishers were being removed from the community room and community room kitchen.
When a member of the resident's committee contacted Pendleton Together, the housing officer informed him they had been removed in error and would be on the way back to the block, this was at 2:00 pm by 5.30pm the committee member checked to see if the items had been returned. They had not and everyone at Pendleton Together had left the office. So the out of hours service was contacted and after some time two of the three fire extinguishers were returned by the fire marshals. They said that no one from Pendleton Together had informed them that these were being removed. So far no one from Pendleton Together has responded to a voice message I left on Friday.
A resident of Thorn Court
Name and Address Supplied
NB: The views above are those of the letter author and do not represent those of Salford Voice.