The tragedy at Grenfell Tower is one of the worst disasters ever to befall London in peacetime. Such an event makes normal political argument and tribalism trivial and even offensive. But it also offers an opportunity for politics to do what it does best – make meaningful improvements in the lives of those it represents.
It’s for this reason that Croydon’s Conservative Councillors joined with Labour colleagues to pass a motion at Monday’s Council meeting which will ensure any fire safety measures currently lacking from Croydon’s housing are put in place as quickly as possible. In particular, this means the fitting of sprinkler systems to all blocks of 10 storeys or more, and urgent testing of any insulation used in the refurbishment of council owned blocks of flats over the last 15 years.
Supporting the motion, Councillor Lynne Hale, housing spokesperson for the Conservative group, said,
“In the light of this appalling tragedy it is right that all local authorities now commit to ensuring that all fire safety measures are in place as quickly as possible.
Not only is the right thing to do it but it is vital that we reassure our tenants and leaseholders living in buildings with cladding as quickly as possible that their homes are protected from serious fire.
There is absolutely no place for playing politics with this; it’s a time for working together and making sure all our buildings are safe for people to live and work in.”
In addition to supporting the motion in the Council chamber, Conservatives in Croydon have also written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid. Conservative Councillors support calls for the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap is lifted, and/or the Government makes central funds available so that Councils including Croydon can put in place whatever fire safety measures are necessary without delay.
Councillor Tim Pollard, Leader of Croyodn's Conservative Councillors, has himself written to the Secretary of State, also spoke in favour of the motion saying,
“It is really important for us, as a council, to reassure tenants that we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to improve the safety of our blocks still further, without any delay.”
“This motion calls for the borrowing cap on the HRA to be lifted – or at least suspended – to enable it to fund the works which are now being commissioned. I am pleased to confirm that Cllr Hale and I have written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to express our support for this.”