Wythenshawe’s tallest tower block to be fitted with sprinkler system in response to Grenfell fire tragedy
Wythenshawe’s tallest tower block is to be fitted with a sprinkler system in the wake of the Grenfell Fire tragedy.
A spokesperson for the Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, which runs the 10 tower blocks in the town said work on the retrofit of the tallest building will start in early 2018.
And a spokesperson for the Group told the Reporter WCHG was committed to funding all recommended safety improvements.
The WCHG statement in full:
Wythenshawe Community Housing Group remain committed to ensuring safety in high rise buildings and continue to work closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Manchester City Council and other registered providers to ensure a consistent robust approach to fire safety in tower blocks.
The Group owns and manages 10 high rise buildings in Wythenshawe and none contain ACM panels. Village 135 did have a feature ACM detail to the projecting balconies and this was quickly removed in July 2017 shortly following the tragic Grenfell incident. This has now been replaced with a solid metal cladding panel.
We have worked closely with our residents in all of our high rise buildings which have had annual fire risk assessments in place for many years by accredited consultants. Since June, we have repeated and reviewed in detail our approach to fire safety with our fire safety consultants to identify any further improvements that can be made to each block.
The Group will commence an installation of sprinklers to the tallest building in early 2018 and the Board and Executive team remain committed to funding all recommended improvements including sprinklers for the safety of occupants.”
In June, Wythenshawe CHG said it had worked closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and was “considering all options including sprinkler systems” to maintain safety in it’s tower blocks.
WCHG’s comments come as Manchester City Council agreed to consult tenants on spending £10.5 million to fit sprinkler systems to the 36 high rise tower blocks it owns most of which are in North Manchester.
The City Council’s Executive today approved the plan in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy earlier this year and will follow the completion of high level fire risk assessments that ensures compartmentation of flats, designed to contain fire within an individual dwelling and stop any spread.
Basic fire risk assessments are already in place in all City Council-owned blocks and housing association provider high rises, and were redone immediately following the Grenfell fire. All fire assessments for Council-owned properties have been made available of the Council’s website.
Greater Manchester Fire and rescue) has visited every single high rise block in Manchester and provided the City Council with details. Where necessary the fire officer has taken steps to address safety issues.
The City Council has also written to every owner or building manager of the 216 privately-owned high rises identified in the city to understand whether the cladding or other building materials used presented pose any potential safety issues.
216 building owners have been contacted in the first two weeks of November and, as they respond, the Council is building up a detailed database which is being shared with DCLG as part of a national picture.
The owners of 12 private buildings that feature Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding have responded positively and have actioned remedial works or commissioned fire risk assessments to reassure residents and fire officers that fire safety measures are in place.
A detailed procedure is being established within the City Council and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) to deal with any owners not responding.
The Council enforcement team, Building Control service and GMFRS are working closely together to ensure that any necessary enforcement actions are correctly actioned.
However, there remains some confusion around enforcement responsibilities and how they are carried out due to a lack of clarity within the current legislation.
The City Council and GMFRS would like to see a revision in guidance for fire safety in flats to address different types of tenure and responsibilities of the building owner and tenants to clearly set out expectations of each party to ensure fire safety.
Cllr Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We need to get to a position where every person who lives in a high rise block feels safe in their homes, understands fire procedures for the building, and building owners know what their responsibilities are.
“We are still awaiting the outcome of the national inquiry following the Grenfell tragedy and we are ready to act quickly to any recommendations. However, we already know that a review into enforcement powers of Councils and the fire service is vital to ensure the legislation is in place to fully protect residents.
“We believe that we should retrofit sprinkler systems in our high rise properties, but it is important that we do this in conversation with our residents – and funding the works will need to be in conversation with Government for their support.”
Thousands of people turned out for Wythenshawe Park’s firework display last night.
It was soggy underfoot, but the crowds took advantage of the dry and clear skies for the spectacular display and the lighting of the bonfire. Read More…
The fire crew who helped save Wythenshawe Hall from fire devastation have visited the historic building a year on as work begins to repair the roof and exterior.
The fire could have been end for the much-loved building had it not been for the heroic efforts of Greater Manchester Fire Services officers, who battled through a March night last year to prevent the destruction of the largely timber-framed medieval hall.
Despite these efforts, the fire caused a large amount of damage to the roof and several key rooms at the hall, and smoke damage through large portions of the property. Read More…
Part of Wythenshawe Hall was reopened to the public at the weekend, three months after a fire which which caused devastating damage to the building.
— Wythenshawe Hall (@WythenshaweHall) June 12, 2016
Firefighters who helped save the building cut the ribbon on the Tenant’s Hall on Sunday when local people enjoyed entertainment and fun at an open day to mark the occasion, organised by the Friends of Wythenshawe Hall.
The event was part of the nationwide Big Lunch initiative which has been celebrating the Queen’s 90th Birthday.
Richard Jackson, Chairman of the Friends of Wythenshawe Hall and an ancestor of the Tatton family who owned the historic Tudor building, praised the tremendous support from the local community, especially the town’s school children, who have raised cash to help restore the building to its former glory.
Local people and FOWH members dressed in Tudor finery were entertained at the grand re-opening by performances from an opera singer, pianist, court jester and the Ukuhelee Band.
Since the fire, the friends’ group have continued their monthly public open days undeterred from the nearby Courtyard Café, but the ambition was to return to the property as soon as possible.
March when a fire damaged Part of Wythenshawe Hall will be re-opened to the public, just months after the devastating fire which ripped through the building.
Firefighters, who played a crucial part in saving the historic building will cut the ribbon to re-open the Tenants Hall on Sunday, 12 June.
The Tudor property has been completely closed to the public since March when a fire damaged a large part of the original building.
Since the fire, the Friends of Wythenshawe Hall group have continued their monthly public open days undeterred from the nearby Courtyard Café, but the ambition was to return to the property as soon as possible. Read More…
Monthly events set to continue as work on fire-hit Wythenshawe Hall moves into the next phase of restoration
The bell tower on Wythenshawe Hall has been safely removed to make way for a new temporary roof to be craned onto the historic fire-damaged building, as work begins on the next stage of its restoration.
The new roof will protect the building from the elements to allow the wooden sections of the property to dry out.
Since the fire at the Hall last month, an emergency tarpaulin has been used to protect the building while essential structural and archaeological works were completed inside.
The installation of the new temporary roof this week is the final piece of the substantial scaffolding structure that has been erected around the fire damaged area of the Hall and follows weeks of delicate conservation work inside the property.
These works will allow the building to breath and the timber frame to dry out properly and naturally as recommended by historic building specialists, including Historic England.
As part of this remedial work, the bell tower of the Hall was also craned off in a single piece to allow a seamless covering of the hall’s damaged roof.
The bell tower was rebuilt in the 1950s as part of a programme of repair work and its core is a more contemporary steel framed structure clad in timber. This meant that the tower did not collapse into the building during the fire and resulted in much less damage than would otherwise have been the case.
Since the fire, engineers have stabilised the property ensuring it is safe to work inside, while a team of archaeologists have been sifting through the debris in the building and recording, protecting and preserving as much original material as possible.
Now the immediate emergency works are well underway, proposals for the long-term recovery of Wythenshawe Hall will be put forward, working closely with the friends’ group and project partners.
Wythenshawe councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “A huge amount of work has already gone into helping protect Wythenshawe Hall, most visibly the scaffold cocoon that is helping to stabilise the damaged areas of the property and will support the new temporary roofing.
“Inside, countless hours have been spent making sure anything that can be saved is saved. Everything from the largest pieces of furniture that were on display in the building, to the smallest artefacts being unearthed by highly-trained archaeologists.
“It will be a long road to recovery for the building, but working with our partners and the friends’ group, we will see Wythenshawe Hall back to its best.”
Paul Selby, Deputy Chair of the Friends of Wythenshawe Hall, said: “It’s been a rollercoaster few weeks for the friends’ group, but thankfully we are safe in the knowledge that the Hall has been saved, it is now stable and a dedicated team are on-site salvaging anything and everything that makes the property distinct.
“The hall’s insurance has allowed us to invest in a permanent marquee that will allow our monthly events to continue in the grounds of the Hall, and our ambition is to return to the iconic front of the building as soon as possible.”
Despite the fire, The Friends of Wythenshawe Hall group have continued their open days at the Hall using the nearby Courtyard Café as a temporary venue