Greenwich Council to release tower block fire safety assessments

Shenfield House and Brentwood House, Woolwich
Fire assessments for all council blocks – such as Shenfield House and Brentwood House off Shooters Hill Road – will be published early in 2018

Greenwich Council is to release the fire safety assessments for the tower blocks it manages following concerns raised after this summer’s Grenfell Tower disaster.

The council manages 94 blocks of six storeys or above, but council officers did not release the assessments to councillors at a housing scrutiny panel last month.

Officials then initially refused a Freedom of Information Act request put in by this website to see the data, claiming it would breach rules on releasing personal information for tenants and fire assessors, put tenants at risk of crime and potentially damage their mental health.

Now Greenwich has confirmed it will release the data, starting at the end of January.

A council spokesperson told 853: “The Royal Borough of Greenwich has commissioned an independent fire safety expert to review the fire risk assessments for our housing blocks. Once the revised assessments have been completed, they will be entered into a bespoke system on standardised templates.

“This will enable the production of summary reports suitable for publishing. The Royal Borough will begin to publish the fire assessment reports on its website by the end of January, starting with the assessments for the borough’s six 24 storey high-rise blocks.”

‘Don’t wait to be asked’

During the summer, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham stated that councils should be releasing the data without waiting to be asked.

Writing seven weeks after the Grenfell Tower fire, she said: “Unless there is a good reason not to, I urge public organisations holding relevant fire risk assessments and other fire safety information to consider publishing these records proactively.

“Use your judgement. Be transparent. Don’t wait to be asked.”

Other councils have already begun to release the data. Hackney has placed full reports on its website, saying it wants residents to have “as much information as possible about fire safety in their homes”.

Last month, police concluded that 71 people had died in the disaster in North Kensington and 223 people had escaped. A public inquiry has begun taking initial statements, and it is thought the fire spread via cladding recently placed on the outside of the tower.

Greenwich inspected its six 24-storey blocks soon after the fire and found their cladding was not the aluminium composite material used at Grenfell Tower.

The council is setting aside £30 million over the next five years to meet future fire safety requirements.

Advertisements