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14 December 2023
In response to a recent regulatory notice from the Regulator for Social Housing, Woking Borough Council has set out a robust action plan to enhance fire safety in its housing properties. The notice, issued on Thursday, 14 December, highlights breaches of the Home Standard, particularly concerning fire safety and compliance with new carbon monoxide and smoke detector installation regulations.
The regulatory notice has prompted Woking Borough Council to acknowledge its responsibility towards the safety of its residents. Councillor Ann-Marie Barker, Leader of the Council, expressed her concern and commitment to rectifying the situation, stating, "There is nothing more important than the safety of our residents, yet this regulatory notice is a stark warning that the council has fallen short in its health and safety duty toward tenants on this occasion."
She went on to offer an apology on behalf of the council to housing tenants for failing to deliver the expected level of service. Cllr Barker emphasised that the notice may have caused concern among tenants but assured them of the council's dedication to resolving these issues.
The council initiated a series of actions to address the concerns raised in the regulatory notice. These include:
- Commissioning inspections of properties lacking robust data on carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, with a commitment to resolving identified issues promptly.
- Undertaking specialised surveys on select housing blocks to assess fire safety.
- Initiating high-risk fire safety remedial works as required.
- Conducting surveys of emergency lighting in housing blocks.
- Commencing loft compartmentation surveys where necessary.
- Implementing quarterly fire door inspections in four and five-storey housing blocks and all temporary accommodation schemes with shared facilities.
- Introducing a sterile communal areas policy in housing blocks.
Furthermore, Woking Borough Council's Executive will consider a proposal to incorporate the Housing Programme into the broader Improvement and Recovery Plan. This comprehensive improvement programme aims to enhance resident engagement, develop a 30-year business plan for the Housing Revenue Account, and meet all regulatory standards.
Woking Borough Council is resolute in its determination to rectify the identified failures and ensure the safety of its residents. The council's commitment to delivering safe homes remains unwavering, as they work closely with regulators to put in place measures that guarantee the well-being of their housing tenants.
For council housing tenants with concerns related to the regulatory notice, a dedicated email address, [email protected], has been established to address their queries and provide support.
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