A tragedy waiting to happen
When land becomes more important than thousands of people’s safety then something is wrong, horribly wrong.
On the 6th June 2019 Cllr Tim Prater (pictured below) and Cllr Lesley Whybrow (pictured below) put down a motion to the 26th June District Council meeting calling on the Council to withdraw its own proposals to develop Princes Parade, and instead build a new leisure centre and swimming pool at Martello Lakes in West Hythe.
In the scheme of things the The Shepwayvox Team believe people’s safety comes before Princes Parade. We hope at full Council, on the 26th June, the Labour Party Cllrs will bring a motion to hold an extraordinary meeting of the council. This would allow full council to discuss the safety of tenants regarding – gas safety certificates, electrical tests, asbestos issues and previous issues around fire risk assessment – in all the 3,365 Council owned homes across the district.
On Wednesday 12th June 2019, we raised the fact there has been a failure to undertake electrical safety tests across all four councils housing stock of East Kent. Between them they own in excess of 15,800 council homes. Although not compulsory by law the Code-of-Practice for the Management of Electrotechnical Care in Social Housing (Jan 2019) states at page 8:
It is recommended that an electrical installation in a domestic tenanted property is inspected and tested at least every 5 years, resulting in the creation of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
It goes onto say
A full electrical inspection and test, which results in the completion of an EICR, should always take place at change of occupancy, including voids and mutual exchanges, to confirm the electrical installation is safe for continued use.
Let’s remember – it was an electrical fire which started the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – rightly commemorated for the second anniversary on Thursday 14th June 2019.
Also we raised the issue that hundreds of gas safety certificates have not been issued. These two significant concerns raise questions about the validity of insurance cover for the council housing stock and also the important subject of Public Liability as a duty of care is owed.
We also now understand an Asbestos contractor was recently terminated due to unsafe practices – and that Mark Anderson Director of Property Services at East Kent Housing (EKH), was in a meeting with Mears on Wednesday discussing this issue, a variety of well placed sources have confirmed. Mr Anderson was previously Director of Assets and Regeneration of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation and was a lead on the planning and ‘consultation’ on the botched Grenfell Tower refurbishment, including cladding.
Also how could we forget that East Kent Audit Partnership Report (pages 12/13 and 14) in March 2018 reported to the Audit & Governance Committee that EKH Fire Safety (Fire risk assessment process & records management) received a Limited Assurance which means there was evidence of significant errors or non-compliance with many key controls not operating as intended resulting in a risk to the achievement of the system objectives.
The report makes clear
Cladding has not been looked at in this audit.
Fire risk assessments have not been kept up to date
There appears to have been no monitoring by senior management either at East Kent Housing or the 4 partner authorities of the outstanding actions and the expected costs.
We hope and pray that the Labour Cllrs will use the powers under Part 4 – 14.1 Q (page 4/14 &15) of the constitution to call an extraordinary meeting at the full council meeting on the 26th June 2019, to discuss these urgent matters. This part of the constitution states – The following motions may be moved without notice:
To resolve to request the Head of Paid Service to call an extraordinary meeting of Council; and
As an EKH employee, I fear for the lives our tenants as senior management is so incompetent. I hope the Cllrs of all four Councils do the right thing and call for an inquiry into this unholy mess.
Criminal Behaviour. The Heads of the Councils and senior management at EKH should be behind bars. Thank you for highlighting this.
Preventing building on Princes Parade was an election promise. As a recently elected Green Councillor, I am personally right behind the Shepwayvox Team for raising this. The Shepway Green Party have rather scored an own goal on this. I think we should take it on the chin put up our hands and admit we got it wrong.
Mr Anderson should go of his own accord, without any payoff or non-disclosure agreement. As for the Cllrs if they don’t do the right thing I am sure the electorate won’t forget. As for the Greens won’t ever be voting for them again
All the local Councillors and political parties should see the scrutiny you apply as a positive and good thing for the area. For too long it has been a closed club with servile local press who fail to hold the politicians, especially the self-serving, to task.