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We’ll do whatever’s needed at Felmores says councillor
2:00pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Echo News
A SENIOR councillor has promised people living on a fire-hit estate that the council will do whatever it takes to make their homes safe.
The estate has been hit by ten fires in the past ten years, with many residents concerned they are living in a death trap.
Mr Turner said the council was now working with the Essex Fire Service to ensure the right measures were put in place to prevent devastating fires like the one which hit Bockingham Green at the end of July.
Mr Turner said: “There is a lot going on behind the scenes which we can’t go into detail about at this stage.
“The fire authority is looking into the homes and will come up with recommendations to make them safer and more fire resistant. We will work closely with them to bring these in.
“I can promise Felmores residents we won’t scrimp on anything. Whatever the fire service says we should do, that’s what we will do.
“These things take time, but all the houses will get sprinklers, fire breaks and other safety measures.”
The last fire, caused by a chip pan, gutted one home and left seven more uninhabitable.
However, the estate has suffered a string of fires over the years and in 2009 eight homes were destroyed in Bockingham Green.
Basildon Council is to start replacing the timber cladding, which is widely believed to have helped fires to spread across the estate so quickly, next month.
It will replace it with cement cladding. However,a BBC Inside Out investigation claims the new cladding would “act as a chimney, encouraging the fire to spread upwards”.
Mr Turner added: “Cladding is not the be-all and end-all, which is why we want to bring in other measures as well.
“We know it’s not the whole story and with the domestic fire in July it wouldn’t have had any effect at all.”
Brian Tams, 41, of Bockingham Green, said: “The houses clearly aren’t safe and if there’s a problem the council should just knock them down and start again. Hopefully the fire service will recommend that. It’s what all the residents want.
“This is my home and I don’t want a sprinkler system running through it which could flood the whole house if I accidentally clip it, and I don’t want multicoloured cladding at the front.
“No one else in Basildon has to put up with that. We shouldn’t have to live like second rate citizens just because these houses have been up for much longer than they should.”
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