Residential complex fire safety issues raised

Residential complex fire safety issues raised

FURZE COURT in Fareham has seen residents complain about fire safety issues, with Hampshire Fire and Rescue (HFRS) having outlined concerns with the building’s management.

Portsmouth.co.uk reported on the ‘fears raised’ at the complex in Fareham, with resident Sarah Pankhurst speaking out about issues identified by tenants including ‘covered fire alarms, electric arcing from appliances, hazardous fire escapes and empty light sockets’. The complex of three buildings had also seen a visit from HFRS previously, with a freedom of information request finding that it had ‘outlined numerous safety concerns’ to management company Ensign Management.

HFRS’ concerns were made in a letter to Ensign Management, which also maintains the complex, and the news site noted the site ‘used to be offices until it was refurbished and turned into blocks of flats’. Mrs Pankhurst, also a local councillor, stated: ‘We were first alerted to the fire safety issues early in 2017 before Grenfell. There had been various issues with electrics such as shocks from switches, arcing and an electrical fire which was attended by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.’

Local MP Suella Braverman also met residents, and commented: ‘Some of the issues at Furze Court are a serious safety concern, while other problems are damaging to residents’ quality of life. I am grateful to members of the residents’ committee, particularly Cllr Sarah Pankhurst, for their tireless efforts in holding Ensign Management to account.

‘It is unacceptable for people to continue living in conditions that could put them at risk and it is grossly unfair for residents to then have to pay for works that should’ve taken place before they moved in. I will continue to hold talks with Ensign Management and residents until we reach a fair settlement.’

A spokesperson for Ensign Management added: ‘The company employs a fire officer who has carried out a fire risk assessment. We are in touch with Hampshire Fire Service as they spot-checked the building a few months back as they have done with several buildings in view of recent events and they have made some recommendations and given the company a time limit to carry those works out. Most of these works have already been carried out.

‘Mostly these works centred on a difference of opinion between the inspectors and the fire service as the building was signed off in 2015 but the fire service has decided that it wants additional measures put in. The current situation with the fire officer is not unusual at all, the fire service regularly makes checks to buildings and make recommendations for upgrades to make sure buildings keep pace with current regulations.’