Last Tuesday, a motion submitted to a meeting of Southend Borough Council calling for better fire safety measures in the borough’s tower blocks was rejected: Call to improve fire safety in Southend tower blocks rejected as “knee-jerk reaction to Grenfell”. It has been claimed that firefighters in Southend do not have the equipment to rescue people above ten stories. There are eleven blocks in Southend that are higher than that.

What Southend Borough Council are doing with their rejection of this motion is hiding behind legislation that was in place well before the Grenfell Tower disaster last year. Legislation which may well not get changed until the inquiry into the disaster has run its course. It could well be a few years before the inquiry reaches its conclusions.

These were some of the demands made by those campaigning for better fire safety in the blocks:

  • Automated fire alarms
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Checks on materials used within the walls

In what is supposed to be a civilised society, any reasonable person would have thought that these were the basics that should be undertaken if an authority is housing people in tower blocks. Basically, Southend Borough Council are trying to get away with doing the bare minimum rather than doing the right thing for their residents in the tower blocks. Dismissing perfectly reasonable demands submitted well over a year after the Grenfell Tower disaster as a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ is a callous, contemptuous reaction.

We’re losing count of how many blog posts we’ve put up about examples of councils treating their residents in an arrogant, high handed, dismissive manner. Seriously, how much more of this are people going to put up with before something snaps?