A growing number of sources within all four Councils who own East Kent Housing have informed us that all four Chief Executives of Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Thanet Councils (pictured below) were “summonsed” to the Regulator of Social Housing in London on Friday 8th Nov 2019.
They were “summonsed” to talk about issues of non-compliance within Council Homes managed by East Kent Housing amongst other things. Have the Chief Exec’s informed their Cllrs that they were “summonsed“, or are they withholding this information from them? If so why?
With regards to Ross House, Folkestone a growing number of sources inside the Council have informed us that their were two fire risk assessments for Ross House. The first rated the fire risk as “substantial” in April 2018 and work was supposed to have happened, but it did not. Then in early Nov 2019, eighteen months after the purchase of Ross House, a second fire risk assessment was undertaken and this one said the risk was “intolerable“.
How could the risk assessment go from “substantial” to “intolerable“, especially as no work was undertaken on Ross House between the two fire risk assessments? Who undertook the first risk assessment and how could they have said it was “substantial” with what we know now?
What we do know is that Folkestone & Hythe District Council and East Kent Housing knew that Ross House was not fire compliant a year ago. In that time the Council and EKH have done nothing to change that state of affairs, knowingly putting tenants lives at significant risk for a year.
Plus we have to re-iterate how Folkestone & Hythe District Council Building Control signed off a building which was not fire compliant along with a whole host of other issues.
The changing of the fire risk assessment from “substantial” to “intolerable” for Ross House, and the signing off of Ross House by the Council’s building control department gives rise to plausible suspicions of wrong doing within Folkestone & Hythe District Council. So we ask Dr Susan Priest and her team have there been any
made to, and accepted by any member of her team in the Council , from any developers?
With all that has gone on, there are plausible suspicions of wrongdoing which have a demonstrable and evidential basis. If they have not received any “gifts” then surely it is a case of staff incompetence, which perhaps demonstrates the Peter Principle, is alive and well in the Council and EKH.
In some ways if Council staff and EKH staff were incompetent would make it worse than the list above, as alleged qualified people did not do their job properly, putting tenants lives at unnecessary risk.
We now know a developer, with whom we have now spoken, has left the following comment on our blog which states:
“As a developer who has worked in the Folkestone & Hythe District, representatives of our company were indirectly asked for “gifts” to help ease planning decisions and building control inspections. We have not returned to develop any further projects in the district. We reported it and nothing got done.”
This is not the only developer who has informed of us of requests for “gifts“. So we ask Dr Susan Priest and her team, is this why there was a clear out in the Council’s planning department and building control department over the last 12 months because her employees were asking for and accepting gifts from developers/builders in return for an easy passage to get there buildings signed off?
Tenants living in former commercial buildings which have been turned into flats across the district over the last few years ought to be very concerned, as their living accommodation may not be compliant with all the building regulations and they too might be living in tinderboxes, like Ross House.
It is our honest opinion and belief there has been corruption and negligence by FHDC employees. What else can explain fire risk assessments going from “substantial” to “intolerable” and developers stating they were asked for “gifts”?
All Cllrs in all four Council must now ask for a full audit of their planning and building control departments without delay, as their and their councils reputation are on the line.
Finally, the report by Kentonline yesterday about East Kent Housing tenants lives being put in danger, is a report which was made public by the Shepwayvox Team on the 10th Sept 2019 it’s nice to know they are two months behind the curve.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime