Monday 10 July 2017

Brent Council to borrow to invest £10m for firesafety

Brent Full Council will be asked to vote for a plan to raise £10m to address fire safety concerns in the borough.

The officers' recommendation states:

1.     Full Council to agree a £10m increase to the 2017/18 Capital Programme to meet the cost of enhancing the fire safety measures in the Council’s housing stock, to be financed initially by additional borrowing. 

2.     Full Council asks the Chief Executive to write to the Government as a matter of urgency:

.        2.1  If recommendation 1 is agreed to request that Government provide direct financial support to meet the costs incurred. 

.        2.2  If recommendation 1 is agreed, and if government does not agree to fund the works directly to request an increase to the housing revenue account borrowing cap to enable Brent Council to retain its existing headroom as well as undertaking the urgent retrofitting work required on existing housing stock to bring them up to best practice fire safety standards. 

.        2.3  To request that the government urgently consider revocation of the permitted development rights for office to residential conversions to ensure that such proposals go through the proper planning process to enable full consideration of all relevant planning considerations. 

3.     Full Council to note that a report proposing an outline programme of works will be taken to the Cabinet meeting on 24 July, with a full itemised and costed programme of work being prepared for Cabinet consideration and approval by October 2017 and its implementation monitored by the Housing Scrutiny Committee. 

4.     Full Council to ask the Director of Community Wellbeing to write to Registered Providers in the borough to request that they keep the Council updated as to the status of their Fire Risk Assessments for high rise blocks that they are responsible for within the borough. 

The full report (item 15 on a 17 item agenda, how is that for PR?) is below:

It is clear that some parts of the report ar weaker than others.

The meeting starts at 7pm and can be viewed LIVE HERE


Pete Firmin said...

This proposal got amended at the Council meeting, though I don't have the wording.

Anonymous said...

Sort it our Brent Council make sure we aint liable

Philip Grant said...

A Brent press release on Monday evening, reporting the decision taken at the Full Council meeting (although it was almost certainly drafted before that decision was taken) includes the following statement:

'Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “Grenfell changed everything. When it comes to fire safety, ‘good enough’ is no longer good enough.

“Here in Brent we have 37 high rise blocks and they’re all fire risk compliant. But we also have lots of people asking whether those rules and regulations are actually up to standard, and who can blame them? So we’ve found the money to go above and beyond what’s required, to ensure that residents are safe – and feel safe – in their homes.

“Obviously, eight years of austerity have not made this easy, and no doubt some will find a way to criticise our decision. But we can't afford to wait any longer for Government to take the lead, which is why we’re committing £10m to this work, right now. And if we get the Government to step up and put its money where its mouth is then all the better.” '

Cllr. Butt says 'we've found the money' - £10 million 'right now' for extra fire safety works, following on from the recent £1 million for the Tricycle Theatre. I am NOT criticising Brent's decision to spend more on fire safety measures which might help to save the lives of local residents.

But you can't blame voters for feeling cynical about the "magic money tree(s)" that politicians from the main parties (remember Mrs May and the DUP!) manage to find when THEY want to, while telling us that there is no money for services that WE might want.


Philip Grant said...

Having watched some of this item, including the final part (c. 2hrs 35mins to 2hrs 45mins) via the "live streaming" "catch-up" on Brent's website, the main amendment was to delete point 2.2 from the recommendation set out in the blog above.

I was amused to see that, after a very long part of the meeting devoted to fire safety, the Mayor forgot to have a vote on the amended recommendations, and simply moved on to the next business! The Council would not have made any decision if the Chief Executive had not intervened, and reminded him that a vote was needed (which turned out to be a unanimous one).


Anonymous said...

I do so hope that my Local Council will deliver 100% on their promises, live up to what they have committed and down the line if anything does go wrong, we can hold our head up high and say we did everything to mitigate the problems in dealing with a high rise fire risk. I for one, would never be tempted to live in the sky, I would rather live in a shack in the garden, a tent, rather than live in a tower block. Neither would I like to live in my kitchen..........doh, all these flats currently under construction is an abomination. Removing all sense of social capital and currency. There is no community spirit in living in these places, where no-one really know's their neighbour, just people who only occasionally meet in the lift. Who really is living in Wembley No Park? they just come home to sleep and in the morning get on the train and go back to work in the City. I don't see anyone walking around the place who looks like they live there. Loads of flats but no lights on in the evenings? Who bought them? Not the local's. They can't afford them. Maybe Brexit will sort it out, and just like Chalkhill they will become the social housing of the future, when our European neighbours leave, just like Vodafone who is ahead of the trend, many more will follow. Who by the way have left the LDO because of no customers, can't afford the high rents of Quintain, along with Coast to Coast, vacant restaurant, and a fair few units who are struggling to find tenants. Quintain watch your back, be careful what you wish for. The tide is turning. I have no doubt all the flats your are building will come back and bite you on the arse. Whoop Whoop for Brent Council though you will be able to house lots of people on the waiting list. LMFAO