You may have noticed the cladding on the new Marconi Bellway properties being replaced. Did you know that was because one of our members contacted the developers to make sure the cladding was safe? Your local Labour party get more done outside of the council, than either the Lib Dems or the Conservatives have managed in it.
We asked Pete Dixon all about it and he gave us the full story:
Like a lot of people who have lived in Chelmsford for a long while, I have seen a transitions from a mostly house-based population to a more vertical one. I have been well aware of the one way in, one way out nature of most of these buildings and I’m always thinking about how life in Chelmsford can be better and safer. I would like all tall residences to have external fire escapes but in the absence of that I just do what I can. The Grenfell tragedy alerted us all to the danger of ACM(PE) cladding and whilst cutting through Marconi Evolution on the way to The Ship one night I looked up at the buildings and wondered if that is what we had here. There are many young families in the development and it is imperative that we make it as safe as possible so I did some investigating. This is what politicians are for, there’s no profit in safety and I’m not aware that any Corporate Manslaughter cases have been successful over Grenfell even now. So it is up to us to keep our people safe. You can’t bring victims back to life so you have to stop it from happening in the first place.
First I called Essex Fire service but they said I needed to bring it up with the local council. So I raised it in the public questions before a Chelmsford Council meeting. They were sympathetic but said it needed to go before Essex County Council. For this I needed the help of Ivan Henderson and Julie Young, Labour County Councillors from the North of the County. However, when they raised it at County Hall, the Tory Leader responded that “we mustn’t have an emotional response to Grenfell.” When you consider that young children were forced to choose between a huge fall and a fireball it is sickening to think that someone in such power can fail to have an emotional response.
Eventually, I went straight to Bellway Homes and to their credit they responded quickly. I had looked up their contact details and sent an e-mail. They responded confirming that the panels were indeed ACM(PE)- it’s possible they hoped I wouldn’t know what that meant so I sent a message back asking them to confirm that the last building (at the time unfinished) wouldn’t have those panels. They did confirm that and a few months later residents received news that the panels would be replaced so well done to them for that.