Ross House, Ross Way, Folkestone is home to 43 people. Since Folkestone & Hythe District Council began housing people there in April 2018, five fire risk assessments have been done between 30th April 2018 and 6th Dec 2019. In this time no significant work, has been done and no significant sums of money have been spent to make Ross House fire compliant.
The first Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) undertaken on the 30th April 2018 was done on Ross House, seventeen days after the Council purchased it. The first FRA reported that the risk then was substantial, meaning urgent action should be taken if the building is occupied.
The second fire risk assessment was done on the 25 Jan 2019. It concluded that the fire risk for Ross House was moderate, meaning risk reduction measures were required within a defined time frame.
No significant work was undertaken on Ross House between 30th April 2018 and the 25th Jan 2019, yet conditions improved.
The third fire risk assessment was undertaken on the 30/10/19 it’s FRA rating was intolerable.
The fourth Fire Risk Assessment was undertaken on the 1st Nov 2019 and the FRA rating was intolerable.
So the building’s FRA has gone from Substantial to Moderate to Intolerable twice, yet no significant work has been done on the building. There are those that believe the moderate fire rating was a farce, given that no real significant work was undertaken on Ross House.
The fifth fire risk assessment was undertaken on the 6th Dec 2019. It concluded
Now we have to ask, if you don’t know the full facts, how can you can conclude that the premises are not dangerous?
It also gives a fire risk rating of high for Ross House
The report sets out seven actions which need to be completed by the 31st January 2020. We doubt these seven critical actions will be achieved and tenants will be left to live in a block of flats which is not fire compliant.
What this fifth report makes clear is Folkestone & Hythe District Council Building Control department, at the time of signing off the building, back in April 2018, did not do a proper job.
This whole sorry mess will now cost tens, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds to put right.
Those charged with the responsibility of looking after tenants health and safety, Dr Susan Priest (pictured)as the Head of Paid Service, should step down. After five FRA’s it’s clear the money nor the inclination to put things right after 20 months is not there. It is not enough that Deborah Upton (pictured) be the only one to step aside, so should Dr Priest.
As we made clear in our long read: Penny Wise Pound Foolish, it’s clear our Conservative led Council are not prepared to spend money on their Council Housing stock, running them into the ground and causing misery for thousands of tenants.
It’s also clear the likes of Ollie Davis the man who sold Ross House to the Council for £1.8 million, and Crusade Building Services are not fit for purpose either in our opinion.
Finally, for all the publicity Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem) – one of the ward Cllrs gained at the start of Nov 2019, for assisting the tenants with superficial repairs, tenants lives are still at significant risk and have been for a substantial period of time. We hope he will put as much energy and commitment into getting these significant matters rectified pdq, as he did the superficial issues, because tenants lives matter.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime