Maria said, “ Residents have contacted me to say problems with fire safety have been identified at Crown Heights and I am working with representatives from the Residents Association to identify how to get those problems sorted as soon as possible. I will do all that I can to support residents at this worrying and distressing time, and urge everyone concerned to work together in the best interests of the people who live in Crown Heights. I have spoken to the chief operating officer of the building management company and also the Chief Fire Officer for Hampshire, both have told me that the appropriate actions are being taken to keep residents safe. That has to be the prime concern right now.
“EWS1 reports, put in place following the Grenfell tragedy, have identified fire safety problems with many hundreds of residential tower blocks across the country, over and above the problems already identified with the flammability of cladding immediately following the Grenfell fire.
“In 2017 Hampshire Fire Service confirmed to me that flammable exterior cladding was used only in a very limited way in Basingstoke. But these more intrusive surveys now being undertaken are revealing additional fire safety concerns with the way high rise flats have been constructed, including the absence of fire breaks in the walls and the use of combustible wall insulation material. This may not be the same as flammable exterior cladding but it is no less concerning for residents and has been clearly identified as a fire risk.
”Residents didn’t create these problems. And residents should not be left unfairly footing the Bill if house builders have failed to put in place essential fire safety measures.
“Following the Grenfell tragedy in 2017 I met residents living in high rise accommodation in Basingstoke to discuss their concerns and as a result tabled a change in the law to ensure proper fire safety information is given to residents on a regular basis including information on the buildings’ fire alarm system and evacuation plan. This was taken up by the Government and included into the Government’s Fire Safety Bill.
“I have also been working with fellow Hampshire MP Royston Smith on his campaign to protect residents from unfair bills to pay for remedial works where fire safety problems have been identified. I am supporting Royston Smith’s amendment to the fire safety bill because I want it to be clear that residents should not pick up the bill for fire safety problems caused by those who built their homes.”