Government criticised for lack of funding for fire safety work

Janet Sharpe at Hanover Tower, Broomhall
Janet Sharpe at Hanover Tower, Broomhall

Fire safety work is being carried out in Sheffield tower blocks but councillors say they are still waiting for Government funding.

New cladding is being put up on the Hanover tower block and tenants across the city are being given fire safety advice in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

But councillors have criticised the Government for a delay in paying for the work.

Janet Sharpe, director of housing and neighbourhood services, told a Cabinet meeting that the council was taking action regardless of any Government support.

“When the terrible tragedy of Grenfell took place we did review our high rise flats to make sure they were safe.

“We wanted to move forward with closing chutes and introducing sprinklers because it sets the standards for private sector high rise developments.

“We have started to replace the cladding at Hanover and are working in close partnership with tenants to make sure they know what is going on and they feel safe.

“There is quite an extensive education programme with tenants on things they can do to help and we are going out and talking to people so they know what to do in case of an emergency.

“We are working with the Government to get the right legislation in place. Things that don’t require legislation we are already putting into place. Some of this is about really good practice and if we can get on with it then we will.”

The Government has given the council the go-ahead to complete the work at Hanover but it’s still waiting for funding.

Coun Chris Peace, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “I don’t feel the Government is doing very much.

“The council is reacting better than the Government and I hope that gives some reassurance to tenants. We need to keep pressure on them for money and we need to make it clear we are not going away.”