08 Oct 2018
The safety of residents and business premises in Brandon has been better protected following inspections by housing and fire officers.
As part of an Impact Day, public health and housing officers from West Suffolk councils worked alongside officers from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to carry out checks on safety standards in flats above 10 commercial premises in the town, all of which had volunteered for the free inspection.
Should a property be found to be particularly dangerous, fire officers have the authority to ban the residential areas from being used until certain actions have been taken.
That was the warning issued to one owner where a business and the flats above was found to lack a secondary first floor fire escape and only had two smoke detectors. The owner agreed to action that saw four more smoke alarms fitted that same afternoon, while longer term action including checks of the electrical wiring were also ordered.
The majority of premises were broadly compliant and the authorities will be working with those where issues were identified.
Suffolk’s Chief Fire Officer, Mark Hardingham said: “We are keen to work with premises to resolve any identified non-compliance through education and support. For example, the majority of premises we approach on these impact days, have no Fire Risk Assessment. We will also advise on the testing and maintenance of fire safety precautions such as automatic fire alarms, emergency lighting and the electrical (PAT) testing of fixed wiring and portable appliances.”
Housing officers meanwhile carried out inspections to check that the living accommodation was up to standard and was free from any serious health hazards. While the improvements they identified were minor – replacing windows and installing a new kitchen facilities – all are important to ensuring that the flats meet decent living standards – standards which are designed to help improve the physical and mental health of the people that live there.
Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, West Suffolk councils’ Cabinet Member for Housing said: “While we have had this partnership approach with the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service in place for a number of years, the tragedy at Grenfell Tower emphasises the importance of all aspects of fire safety including prevention and escape. We have seen a number of local fires start below flats and this work is designed to prevent this
“The owners of these 10 sites – buildings that are used for both commercial and residential use – did the right and responsible thing. They volunteered for their buildings to be inspected and although faults were found, we know from the feedback and some of the action taken on the day, that the owners are working to put these issues right. This is another example of how we work with partners to support our residents and businesses across West Suffolk.”
The Brandon Impact Day follows on from impact days in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Ixworth, Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Newmarket. Another is planned for the New Year in Clare and Cavendish.