Council writes to government asking for law change to ‘prevent another Grenfell’

The Grenfell Tower block
The Grenfell Tower block

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FOLLOWING the Grenfell Tower fire in the summer, a council wants to see the law changed so that fire authorities have to be consulted about planning applications.

Fareham Borough Council is writing to the government to change the existing law and make it mandatory for local authorities to consult fire authorities on high-rise buildings.

Councillor Roger Price, who is also a member of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority, brought forward the motion.

Councillor Price said: ‘The Grenfell Tower fire was a disaster which unfortunately should never have happened.

‘The fire service needs to be consulted on planning applications to prevent this from happening again.’

Fareham Borough Council agreed the motion at a full council meeting and have volunteered to consult with Hampshire Fire and Rescue with immediate effect.

Councillor Price said: ‘In my opinion fire is the most dangerous thing we have got and we need to make sure every building is safe for people who are living and working in it.

‘I think it is the right step for Fareham to consult with the fire service and gives the chance for the fire service to view applications during the planning process.’

The consultation for planning applications would also cover schools, hotels, high risk office blocks, large development sites and National Health buildings.

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: ‘We work closely with all our partners to ensure all buildings are safe from fire and welcome Fareham Borough Council’s motion to consult with us on certain types of planning applications.

‘Our teams already work with architects, developers, construction and building control bodies on a regular basis to ensure access and facilities for firefighting.’

Councillor Price added: ‘All this means it really makes people safer.

‘At the end of the day we are making sure we don’t have any fire disasters in Hampshire or across the country.

‘From a school’s point of view the risk may not always be to life and limb as children are not always there but the work and equipment that would be destroyed would be devastating for the students and staff.’

A Department of Communities and Local Government spokesman said: ‘Nothing is more important than keeping people safe.

‘Building regulations require all properties to meet minimum fire safety standards when they are constructed, and fire and rescue services must be consulted on the construction of all public buildings such as schools and hospitals by law.

‘Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, we asked Dame Judith Hackitt to carry out an independent review into building safety and she will be looking at what more needs to be done in this area.’