Thursday, 21 February 2013

Council orders residents to remove communal area items due to fire risk

20 Feb 2013

A council has ruled that personal items left in a sheltered housing block communal area must be removed because of the fire risk they pose.

Recent inspections at Wheatfield Court in Luton showed that the items, which include ornaments, pictures and cushions, could obstruct access to the building if firefighters were required.

A spokesman for the local council said that the corridors were "cluttered" and caused a "potentially unsafe environment for both tenants and visitors".

However, residents have reacted by launching a petition against what it calls a "petty" decision from the local authority.

Graham Wright, representing residents of Wheatfield Court, all of whom have signed the petition, told Luton Today that these items make the place "more homely".

"Having them here is not hurting anyone, it just brightens the place up," he explained. "The chairs are over 25 years old. Putting a cushion on them makes them nicer to sit on. How is it harming anyone?”

In response, a council spokesman told the news provider that while the local authority appreciates the residents making the area more homely, items can still pose a fire risk.

"Items where we have given permission to be stored in the communal areas and have been there for several years will be allowed to remain," he explained.

"The safety of our residents is paramount, therefore we must ensure that corridors in particular must be kept as clear as possible as they act as the main thoroughfare in the event of a fire. All furniture within the sheltered housing scheme must also conform to strict fire regulations."

Residents have been told that items must be removed or the items will be taken away.

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