Focus E15 campaign have been contacted by tenants in Newcastle. This is what they have told us.
We, a group of tenants and local people, are campaigning to your Your Homes Newcastle and Newcastle City Council to make changes to their fire prevention and procedures in high rise blocks, like many other local authorities have across the country recently. We are demanding ALL blocks are fitted with sprinklers and adequate fire safety measures are in place and followed through in ALL their buildings.
Following the recent disaster at Grenfell Tower, it was brought to attention that residents concerns and demands regarding fire safety in the building were ignored by their local council. We, tenants of Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) are hoping to highlight ours and demand upgrades to fire prevention in ALL Your Homes Newcastle tower blocks.
Questions being asked about fire safety in Grenfell Tower include;
Why were sprinklers not installed? Why was fireproof cladding not installed? What happened to fire alarms? Why were fire safety demands ignored?
These, are all questions which are applicable for blocks like the ones we live in. There is a seriously concerning number of fire regulations and policies which YHN fail to enforce. For example:-
- All flat doors in their Riverside Dene properties (and others) fail to meet fire safety regulations. It states a gap no bigger than 8mm under doors, however some have gaps up to an inch.
- Despite regulations introduced in 2007 (stating sprinklers should be fitted in all buildings over 30m) and the knowledge that sprinklers are one of the most effective ways to prevent fire spreading in high rise buildings, over 3800 council tower blocks are still without them, including YHNs.
- YHN have made claims they “do not allocate families with young children in multi-stories and hasn’t done so since the turn of the century”. This is false, YHN tower blocks are FULL of families. YHN also house elderly and disabled in their tower blocks, their ability to easily escape the block in case of emergency is a serious worry. Occasionally, lifts are out of service for long periods of time with little/no explanation why or when they are coming back on.
- Bin chutes are poorly maintained. Chute drawers must automatically shut close after use and have an air tight seal to prevent the spread of smoke, some floors actually have no chute door or door to the chute room!
- In a leaflet, “concierge service news,” which YHN posted through SOME doors, stated replacement windows within stairwells were fitted with a smoke detector which will automatically open the top window for smoke ventilation – this is just outright false.
- YHN have stated their all of their high rises are built on the principle of ‘compartmentalisation’. After a refurbishment some YHN Riverside Dene (duplex) flats are now open plan.
Please show your support in sharing our concerns and demands for a safe place to live by signing and sharing our petition and joining our Facebook group ‘Your Homes Newcastle make your tower blocks fire safe!’