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BRADFORD FLATS POSE “REAL RISK TO LIFE”

Significant fire safety risks uncovered in a block of flats on Laisteridge Lane in Bradford have seen residents receive a letter requesting that they “voluntarily vacate the property immediately and seek alternative accommodation.

A health and safety review carried out by the council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, at the behest of administrators following the collapse of the company that owned the block, Hill and Standard Developments Limited, found a litany of issues, including:

  • The smoke alarm system for the property is compromised and is not considered fit for purpose.
  • The property does not have sufficient fire-resisting measures.
  • The property does not have adequate escape routes in the event of a fire.
  • The property does not have adequate emergency lighting.
  • The fire extinguishers at the property have not been regularly tested and maintained.
  • The electrics at the property are generally in a poor state of repair, increasing the risk of electrocution and fire.

A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson added: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been working with those responsible for Laisteridge Student Village, Bradford, with regards to fire safety issues identified within the blocks.

These issues have been the subject of an Enforcement Notice and included deficiencies with the compartmentation, defects with fire doors, and emergency lighting. During this time the building had an operational fire alarm and detection system which ensured that the premises could continue to be safely occupied.

At the end of last week, we were made aware that the fire alarm was no longer operational, through consultation with those responsible for the premises and Bradford Council we agreed to the introduction of a waking watch.

This measure enables residents to continue to safely remain in the premises, however we have been advised that arrangements are being made to rehouse occupants in alternative accommodation as those responsible for the waking watch are not able to sustain it beyond Monday March 28.

We are continuing to work with the owners and local authority to ensure that residents are safe during this period.

The flats were home to a large number of students but is unconnected to the University of Bradford, who have offered affected students three months free accommodation at a university hall. Other residents, including some of Bradford’s more vulnerable people, are being offered assistance by the council’s Housing Options service.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah responded to the news, saying “it is appalling to see people living in these flats were forced to leave in such a manner after it seems like the building has been unsafe for quite some time.

I will be writing to Bradford Council and working with them to ensure a proper investigation is conducted, to better understand how such severe failings were left ignored for so long.

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