Warren Morgan: Safety of our tenants is our highest priority

Warren Morgan, the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council
Warren Morgan, the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council

The image of Grenfell Tower against the backdrop of the London skyline is something that will stay with all of us for a very long time.

We must always remember the victims who sadly lost their lives and the emergency and public services who alongside volunteers and the local community fought so courageously to save lives, and support those affected.

Since the fire in London tenants have contacted me and other councillors quite rightly with concerns about fire safety in their tower blocks. I want to reassure tenants and leaseholders that our highest priority has always been their safety.

Over the past week three emergency meetings of the Housing Fire, Health and Safety Board have taken place, in which senior council housing officers and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Services have been working together to decide what actions need to happen now.

Fire risk assessments have now taken place at all of our tower blocks, prioritising those with cladding, and an independent surveyor will also conduct inspections. However, I am pleased to say that we have now been able to confirm that none of the cladding on our council tower blocks is the same material used on Grenfell Tower.

When the very upsetting incident began to unfold, our first thought was for our tenants and to try to provide them with as much information as we could as soon as possible. Text messages were sent to tenants in council housing blocks with cladding, and a letter providing information was hand delivered by council housing staff in those blocks. We set up a frequently asked questions page on fire safety on our website, and we have continued to update it whenever new information becomes available.

As soon as we find out the facts from what happened in London, I would like to reassure tenants that we will do everything we can to learn from the findings and make any future changes needed.

I want to thank the Housing, Safety and Communications teams for their work this week. Providing a safe and secure home for as many residents as we can is a key priority, and events like those in London demonstrate just how vital this work is.

Warren Morgan is the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.