Last Friday Steve Reed and I had an urgent meeting with Croydon Council leaders – and I went to Fieldway to look at some of the taller blocks and talk to local people. The Council wrote and hand-delivered a letter to all of the council tenants in tall blocks confirming that the type of cladding used in Grenfall Tower was not used in any Croydon blocks and that they had begun an immediate and thorough review of materials used for cladding.
I am delighted that Croydon Council yesturday went further than any other Council I have seen, announcing that twenty-five housing blocks in Croydon will get fire sprinklers as part of the council’s response to the terrible fire. This is very good news.
The Council is also contacting housing associations in Croydon to make sure all their housing blocks fully comply. There are ongoing concerns about low-quality private housing blocks because the Conservative Government removed the Council’s powers to oversee the safety of new building development including conversions of office blocks into flats, a move Labour MPs voted against in Parliament.
In the coming weeks and months, it is clear that Parliament will need to change things. Whatever is required – a national review of fire safety regulations, reform of conditions in private housing as well as public housing, changes to the planning system – we will leave no stone unturned.