Fears raised over fire safety at Fareham residential complex

CONCERNS have been raised over fire safety at a residential complex in Fareham.

Monday, 14th May 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:17 am
Fareham MP Suella Braverman with Cllr Katrina Trott and Furze Court resident Cllr Sarah Pankhurst Picture: Joshua Gray

Resident Sarah Pankhurst has spoken out about worries shared by others including covered fire alarms, electric arcing from appliances, hazardous fire escapes and empty light sockets at the complex of three buildings in Furze Court.

Sarah, who is also a councillor representing Titchfield Common said: ‘We were first alerted to the fire safety issues early in 2017 before Grenfell.

‘There had been various issues with electrics such as shocks from switches, arcing and an electrical fire which was attended by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.’

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A request made under the Freedom of Information act revealed that Hampshire Fire and Rescue had outlined numerous safety concerns at the site, including fears that ventilation, fire exit signs and escape routes were all inadequate. These were detailed in a letter to Ensign Management which is responsible for the maintenance and management.

Fareham MP Suella Braverman met residents of Furze Court who are concerned for their safety and have listed a large number of potential risks.

The complex used to be offices until it was refurbished and turned into blocks of flats.

Mrs Braverman said: ‘Some of the issues at Furze Court are a serious safety concern, while other problems are damaging to residents’ quality of life.

‘I am grateful to members of the residents’ committee, particularly Cllr Sarah Pankhurst, for their tireless efforts in holding Ensign Management to account.

‘It is unacceptable for people to continue living in conditions that could put them at risk and it is grossly unfair for residents to then have to pay for works that should’ve taken place before they moved in.

‘I will continue to hold talks with Ensign Management and residents until we reach a fair settlement.’

A spokesperson for Ensign Management said: ‘The company employs a fire officer who has carried out a fire risk assessment.

‘We are in touch with Hampshire Fire Service as they spot-checked the building a few months back as they have done with several buildings in view of recent events and they have made some recommendations and given the company a time limit to carry those works out. Most of these works have already been carried out.

‘Mostly these works centred on a difference of opinion between the inspectors and the fire service as the building was signed off in 2015 but the fire service has decided that it wants additional measures put in.

‘The current situation with the fire officer is not unusual at all, the fire service regularly makes checks to buildings and make recommendations for upgrades to make sure buildings keep pace with current regulations.