Kirklees Council tenants told by letter 'safety is highest priority'

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Flats in HuddersfieldImage source, LDRS
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Kirklees Council has committed to spend almost £90m on safety improvements to its housing stock

Residents in high-rise blocks in Kirklees have been sent letters of reassurance after concerns were raised about fire safety.

A review of Kirklees Council's housing stock said tenants were put at risk due to weaknesses in fire risk assessments.

In the letter, the authority said "keeping our tenants safe remains the council's highest priority".

It plans to spend £90m on safety improvements following the review.

The letters were sent to people living in high-rise and six-storey blocks across Kirklees.

They state keeping tenant and leaseholders safe is the council's "highest priority", which includes the provision of 24-hour waking watches in high-rise blocks and daily and weekly fire checks.

"Our focus first and foremost remains on making sure all our tenants and leaseholders are safe and confident in their homes," the letters say.

The move comes after an independent review, delivered to the council in April, found weaknesses in recording data from fire risk assessments and issues around asbestos safety and water hygiene.

The council took back control of its housing stock of about 21,000 properties from an arms-length management organisation on 31 March.

Image source, Chris Allen/Geograph
Image caption,
Kirklees has declined to release the review since it was completed in April

It has previously said the review had enabled it to "better understand the building safety issues" it faced.

The authority intends to demolish ageing high-rise buildings at Berry Brow, Huddersfield, and replace them with low-rise buildings

Until then it will have to fit communal fire doors to make the buildings safe ahead of demolition. It has also said it will replace fire door at 870 sites across the area.

The money to pay for safety improvements will come via revenue raised from tenants' rents.

The report which highlighted the scope of problems facing the council was compiled by consultant Anthony Brown, of Darlington-based Robust Management Solutions (RMS).

The council has refused to release the report to the media and a number of its own councillors, but it was eventually obtained by the Local Democracy Reporting Service through a leak.

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