Government denies it is ‘no longer checking’ fire safety inbox
AN OFFICIAL from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) had told a tower block resident that the inbox for expressing safety concerns was ‘no longer in use’.
Inside Housing reported on the claim by the MHCLG official, in a letter to tower block resident and campaigner from Tower Blocks UK Danielle Gregory, that the inbox – set up as part of the government’s building safety programme – was ‘no longer in use’. The resident had got in touch via the inbox – set up to ‘allow tower block residents to report safety fears in the aftermath of Grenfell’ – to ask if it was still being checked, with the address also still listed on the government website.
The MHCLG official’s letter to the resident said that the Housing Checks inbox ‘is no longer in use. We would encourage residents of affected buildings to speak to their building’s owner about the steps they are taking to ensure residents’ safety’. However, an MHCLG spokesperson denied this was the case, apologising for any confusion caused and claiming that emails were forwarded to an ‘individual correspondence team which will formally respond in due course’.
This spokesperson also noted that MHCLG was moving to a single ‘contact us’ address for all public enquiries, with the letter to Ms Gregory having claimed that the responsibility ‘lies with the building owner or the local authority’, which Inside Housing notes suggested ‘a belief that central government had no role in dealing with the issues’.
The letter went on: ‘The building owner or the responsible person is responsible for ensuring that any necessary checks, repairs or improvements are carried out. If the building owner refuses to deal with an issue or is taking an unreasonably long time to do so, residents can contact the environmental health department at their local authority.’
In response, Ms Gregory told the news outlet that the letter was ‘further demonstration of the government’s failure to address and take seriously their responsibilities on fire safety’.