Tower residents were at risk

Exterior of Boyswell House, Scholes, Wigan
Exterior of Boyswell House, Scholes, Wigan

Fire safety failings at a Wigan tower block last year posed a serious threat to residents’ lives, risk assessors have found.

Boyswell House in Scholes was identified as posing a “substantial risk” to tenants during an assessment in March 2016.

Inside Housing analysed hundreds of housing safety examinations conducted between 2012 and this year in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster in London.

The exact nature of the problem at the Scholes homes were not included in reports issued last week but was one of eight issues at blocks across the country thought severe enough to be classified as a “substantial risk”.

However, Wigan Council issued a strongly-worded statement criticising Inside Housing, saying the issues identified at Boyswell House were not that serious and rapidly resolved. The fire service also gave reassurance.

Council chief executive Donna Hall said: “I’d like to reassure our tenants that contrary to this story there is no substantial risk to life at Boyswell House.

“All concerns raised in the report, which was produced over a year ago, were rectified immediately. The issues identified related to everyday maintenance issues, like doors being difficult to open, not long-term issues with the fabric of the building itself.

“I’m pleased to say that the latest and therefore more accurate fire risk assessment demonstrates our compliance with fire safety regulations.

“Ensuring our tenants are safe is a key priority for Wigan Council which is why we regularly review and carry out improvement works to our properties.” Wayne Van Hecke, station manager for Wigan fire station, said: “We have a very good working relationship with Wigan Council and formerly Wigan and Leigh Homes. Regular joint inspections are carried out with Wigan Council and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to ensure compliance with national legislation to ensure residents are safe in their homes.”