Reassurance for Wigan residents following review of high-rise safety

The high rise flats in Scholes
The high rise flats in Scholes

Further reassurance has been given to residents living in Wigan’s high-rise blocks following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

All social housing providers in the country have carried out fire-safety reviews following the tragedy.

Wigan Council is leading an on-going review of fire safety measures on its seven high rise blocks, which are all based in Scholes in central Wigan.

The review has so far found no immediate action needs to be taken with the type of cladding used on the building, raising no cause for concern.

The investigation of the Grenfell Tower fire is focused around the aluminium composite cladding used on the building.

Wigan Council has confirmed that this material has not been used on any of the Scholes high-rise flats.

Replacement of the cladding on Wigan’s blocks is currently taking place due to algae build-up.

The replacement cladding, PermaRock mineral fibre external wall insulation, is deemed to be a fire-safe system suited to high rise blocks where the highest levels of fire resistance and non-combustibility are required.

The council review also established that during the works on-site health and safety checks are regularly undertaken and the contractor has established emergency fire procedures.

All high-rise blocks in Wigan have fire detection systems in key areas including in the motor rooms, lift shafts, bin stores and mains rooms with a direct link to the fire service.

The council currently has a “stay put” policy in place with the agreement of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

This means residents stay in their flat if there is a fire elsewhere in the building.

Due to fire compartmentalisation, which contains a fire in one place of the building, this policy has proven successful in all past fires in Wigan and Greater Manchester.

Karl Battersby, Wigan Council’s director for economy and environment, said: “We want to continually reassure residents that we are taking fire safety extremely seriously following the terrible tragedy in London.

“The results of our initial review show that the cladding being used on our high-rise is fire resistant and non-combustible.

“We have also carried out a thorough check of fire detection systems and fire procedures.

“Clearly this is an on-going issue of high public interest and we will adhere to any new or changed guidance as well as the outcomes of the public enquiry.”