Councillor sees backlash over cladding criticism
BRIAN SILVESTER had been prosecuted over breaching fire safety regulations, but has criticised the government’s plans to fund cladding removal on privately owned buildings.
Cheshire Live reported on the social media post from Mr Silvester, who responded to the government’s £200m fund for removing flammable cladding from privately owned buildings on Twitter, stating: ‘Why is the Government spending OUR taxes on private properties? If landlords won’t do the work they should be fined & locked up. Gov could then compulsory purchase the properties, do the work and sell them on at a profit.’
However, Mr Silvester was criticised for the comments having been sentenced at Chester Crown Court in August 2013 – alongside brother Colin – for a ‘catalogue’ of 11 fire safety breaches at a building they rented out in Shavington. Both admitted to failing to obtain a licence for a house in multiple occupation, and Mr Silvester was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 in costs, while his brother - who had ‘little day-to-day involvement’ - was fined £37,500 plus costs of £22,000.
As a result, responses to his post formed an ‘angry backlash’ from Crewe residents, including: ‘Are you arguing that you should have been locked up as well then when you were convicted for putting your tenants at risk?’; ‘pot kettle black I believe, people in glass houses.’; and ‘So what you’re saying is you actually shouldn’t [have] avoided jail time then?’
In response, Mr Silvester contacted the news outlet to state: ‘At Grenfell Tower 72 people died. Nearly two years later the council owners and the management company have not even been charged. In my case no tenant has ever been harmed at all. The improvements were paid for by us. To spend £200m of taxpayers money on improving private properties is wrong.
‘That money should be spent on elderly care, schools etc. Private properties should be improved by their owners. If they can’t afford the properties can be compulsory purchased by the government, the work can be done and then the properties can be sold on at a profit for the taxpayer.’