The application Y17/0004/PA was for a change of use of Ross House, Ross Way, Folkestone CT20 3UJ into 16 flats (4 – 1 Beds and 12 – 2 Beds). The application was Class O – Commercial to Dwelling – submitted on the 10/02/17 by Mr Oliver Davis of Mulberry Tree Holding Ltd, according to documents lodged on Folkestone & Hythe District Council website.
An Officer Report was issued on Friday, April 7, 2017, which was followed up with a letter sent the same day to Mr Davis of Mulberry Tree Holding Ltd setting out certain conditions but grant permission to go ahead.
On the 31-08-2017 planning application Y17/1071/SH for the replacement of 119 single glazed timber windows with uPVC double glazed casement windows at Ross House was lodged with the Council. At this time no conversion work had started.
On the 30-11-2017 permission was given for the windows.
The building control system exists to make sure that buildings are properly designed and constructed so as to ensure the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people using them.
Building control regulates the construction of buildings so that they meet standards set out in the building regulations, such as fire safety, water-tightness of buildings, electrical safety, for example.
Completion certificates became a requirement where buildings were within the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (that is, for non-domestic buildings and blocks of flats).
Ross House falls within this category, as in April 2017 the Council’s nine strong Tory Cabinet voted unanimously to purchase Ross House.
Building Regulations approvals can be sought either from the building control department of the local authority or from an approved inspector. These are referred to as the building control body.
Ross House appears on the Council’s building control spreadsheet. It would appear the Council were the responsible party for ensuring the building complied with the building regulation, not an approved inspector.
Who then in the Council’s building control department was responsible for checking on the progress of the work and that it met building regulation standards, such as Fire Safety, water tightness, electrical safety to name a few of the known issues in Ross House.
How many site visits did the Council building Control make to the site.
What work was inspected by the Council building control?
How was this evidenced by building control?
At the end of Oct 2019, Cllr Tim Prater answering a FB comment to our public face made candid and public statements about the conversion of Ross House for which our Council paid £1.8 million
In Nov he went onto say
We now know it is not fire compliant as it has no compartmentalisation to prevent fire spreading throughout the building. We know of other major defects. It will cost the Council in excess of £100,000 plus to put right the problems which are wrong with Ross House.
If as it appears, the Council were the body to sign off the building under the building regulations, will they report themselves to the Regulator of Social Housing, Kent Fire & Rescue and/or any other body they must inform?
Will the Council publish the Building Completion Certificate, or its equivalent, as it is in the public interest to know how the Council spent £1.8 million on a building that is NOT fire compliant.
We, like you no doubt, are not holding our breath.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful