Monday, July 17, 2017

Grenfell Tower & Fire Safety in High Rise Blocks motion to West Ham GC

Emergency Motion West Ham Labour Party General Committee 20 July
Grenfell Tower & Fire Safety in High Rise Blocks
This branch/GC notes:

1. The appalling loss of life at Grenfell Tower, together with the troubling prospect that the death toll will rise and the final number of those that perished may never be known;

2. The outstanding bravery demonstrated by the London Fire Brigade, supported by the Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service, in their efforts to save lives;

3. The tremendous generosity of local residents and community groups as well as people from across London and beyond in helping those affected by this national tragedy;

4. The systemic shortcomings of fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower, despite concerns being raised by residents who were sufficiently heard; alongside a fire safety and building regulation regime requiring major reform now that some 120 tower blocks across 37 local authority areas in England so far have failed fire safety tests and are confirmed to have combustible cladding;

5. The welcome announcement of an independent judicial public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire which has to serve the interests of the bereaved families, survivors and residents of tower blocks around the country who have serious questions about how and why this disaster happened and who is responsible;

6. The proactive and welcomed actions underway by officers and the Mayoral Advisor for Housing to ensure Newham residents living in council owned tower blocks and properties are safe.

7. That Grenfell raises many urgent questions for all local authorities about the adequacy of fire regulations, the efficacy of building inspection and enforcement regime and boroughs capacity to respond to emergencies. We should and can expect reform all of these.

This Branch resolves therefore resolves:

1. To call on Newham Council to commit the required resources to implement all necessary and required reforms in fire regulations, building inspection, control and enforcement so that Newham Council remains robust in its fire safety regime for all council owned properties;

2. To ensure that those properties held by Red Door Ventures and Local Space, in which Newham Council has a stake, similarly implement all required reforms to enhance their fire safety standards across the portfolio of properties they hold;

3. To ensure that all Housing Association providers, schools and education providers in Newham demonstrate that they are undertaking all required checks and enhancements to the fire safety regime in their properties;

4. To commit full political and officer support for a comprehensive Scrutiny review on issues arising from the Grenfell Tower fire (including planning policy, building regulations, housing management procedures related to fires safety of high rise blocks in the borough and; the level and type of engagement with residents on the issue of fire safety) and implications for Newham, as well as the independent public inquiry that has been announced once it reports;

5. To review existing processes of engagement with Council tenants/Leaseholders, especially on fire safety, and report back to all councillors/tenants/leaseholders on how they will be enhanced.

6. To re-establish the Newham Residents Housing Scrutiny Committee comprised of Councillors, Tenants and Leaseholders with reforms so that representatives from Housing association and private landlords/freeholders are also invited to attend.

7. To ensure that a full briefing for all Newham councillors is provided as soon as the current inspection work on Newham’s Tower blocks has been completed;

8. To ensure that regular reviews (at least once every year) takes place in consultation with all councillors and relevant residents.

Proposer: Anam Islam
Seconder: John Gray

(passed by Forest Gate North branch and sent to West Ham General Committee)

UPDATE: Disappointingly this motion fell foul of Labour Party rules on giving notice of motions to be discussed since the GC was brought forward by a week. It will be debated at the September meeting.
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