My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who lives in Grenfell Tower and are suffering because of the awful fire. We owe a huge thanks to the emergency services for their quick and brave response.
Fulham FC are accepting donations of clothes, toiletries etc to help at their Motspur Pk Training Ground. Donations can also be made at St Clements Church, 95 Sirdar Road, W11 4EQ.
I have written to the Chief Executive of Merton Council today to ask for assurances that tall buildings in the Borough are safe, and not vulnerable to fire in way we have seen at Grenfell Tower in Kensington.
I have also asked that the Council ensure all the correct fire safety measures are in place.
I will keep you updated when I get a response.
Update - 19/06/2017
Merton Council tell me they have contacted all local housing providers to confirm the safety of the properties they manage. I have asked to be kept updated as to who replies, and have offered to chase any provider which does not reply.
I also asked the Council to seek assurances about the safety of non-residential tall buildings in the Borough.
Clarion Housing (formerly Circle) are largest housing provider in the area, so I contacted their Chief Executive. He tells me they have have increased visits to people's homes, sent information to all high rise residents and arranged for 24 hour security in blocks over 10 storeys high.
Nationally, the Government is checking with local authorities whether all high-rise buildings in their area have complied with recent fire orders (work required following an inspection) and identifying all high-rise buildings owned or managed by Housing Associations or Local Authorities and conducting a fire safety review of all buildings similar to Grenfell Tower. Attached below is a letter from the Prime Minister setting out what else the Government is doing.
I have also written to the Minister of State for Policing and Fire ask that the Government undertakes an urgent review of our fire safety laws.
I have now had a further update from Merton Council about fire safety in the Borough.
The Government has set up a systematic checking procedure requiring that all tall building cladding materials be reviewed and assessed. This applies to all buildings six storeys and over which have Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). The Government has written directly to Registered Providers (housing associations), local authorities and private owners who are members of accreditation schemes. Owners in all categories are required to take samples from any cladding and to send them to a central testing point.
Merton Council continues to seek assurance from all owners that they are complying with this and that they are taking due measures to assess and mitigate risk, including both cladding and insulation used. The Council holds a master list of all buildings of six storeys and over for this purpose.
The Council has contacted all 21 housing associations in Merton to seek assurances that their tall buildings are safe. 10 have not yet replied and are being chased for an urgent update. Reports to date are that there are no housing association tall blocks that need to be reviewed in relation to cladding.
Of the associations that have replied most noted that reviews of their stock has been carried out or is in progress. Any association that has not specifically advised of additional reviews and/or inspections, have noted that their buildings are fully compliant with fire risk assessments.
With regard to privately owned buildings, the Council wrote to the owners of the Brown and Root Tower and also the private Approved Building Control Inspector who approved the new materials when the new glass cladding was installed (the Council were not involved in agreeing the specification).
The Building Control Inspector has agreed to forward the cladding details to the Council, which is awaited, but has confirmed that the independent company used by the contractor at the time adequately fire stopped all cavities and potential voids within the framing of the curtain wall system. The building is not currently occupied.
The Council is writing to other owners of residential tall buildings seeking reassurance about their steps for risk mitigation.
You can find the latest information about the Government’s response to the tragedy on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s website here. This includes the statement made in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State, which you can read here.