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Fire chief and housing bosses take questions on safety following Grenfell Tower blaze

James Harrison

The Grenfell Tower fire was a ‘massive wake up call’, a Windsor housing boss has said.

Lindsay Todd, chief executive of housing association Radian, also said he was confident with its measures to ensure safety.

The firm operates 136 residential blocks in the Royal Borough, including four eight-storey buildings in Sawyers Close, Windsor, and two twelve-storey buildings in Longwood Park, Slough.

The company, which was formed in 2006, has previously confirmed neither of these sites use an aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding system like Grenfell Tower.

Speaking to the council’s Planning and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel at Maidenhead Town Hall last night (Wednesday), Mr Todd said: “I think the point is for the whole nation and particularly for housing associations, it [the Grenfell Tower fire] has been a massive wake up call.

“If we thought fire was something we had sorted we’ve got to think again.

“I think what you will see in the paper [presented to the panel] is a very robust framework of systematic fire risk assessments, training for in-house staff and, in between those, independently providing assessments to constantly check that fire is appropriately dealt with in our numerous residential blocks.”

Mr Todd was one of several figures invited to the panel, including Orla Gallagher, chief executive of housing association Housing Solutions, Darryl Flay, chief executive of property developer Essential Living, and John Brind, director of safety and security for hotel chain Premier Inn.

Travelodge’s chief executive Peter Gowers sent his apologies, having been due to attend.

The committee also heard from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s area manager Mark Gaskarth, who offered reassurance on the safety of buildings in the Royal Borough.

He said: “We have to plan in case there’s a fire in any significant building in the county.

“We know how many high rise buildings there are, we’ve got 153 properties.

“We’ve carried out inspections of 148 of those over the last few weeks and numerous visits to update our plans, which are held in our control room in Reading.

“For the whole of the Thames Valley area we have plans and things in place so if we attend an incident we know what to do when we get there.”

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