Residents fury over flats’ ‘fire hazards’

Trish Sadler and neighbours are angry with WDH after telling them to move the furniture from their balconies because of it being a fire risk.
Trish Sadler and neighbours are angry with WDH after telling them to move the furniture from their balconies because of it being a fire risk.

Angry tenants are furious after being told to remove garden furniture from outside their flats because they pose a fire risk.

Wakefield district Housing (WdH) conducted a study into the flats on Park green in Normanton and have told residents to get rid of any items of furniture on the communal balconies on the first floor.

This includes hanging baskets and washing lines, as well as any tables or chairs.

But residents are unhappy with the decision.

Patricia Sadler, who has lived in her end-of-block flat for 11 years, said: “There’s a lot of upset people.

“WDH say it’s health and safety, but why didn’t they put in a proper fire escape when they did the flats up in 2013?

“We were told we didn’t need one because weren’t high enough, which contradicts what they are saying now.

“With all the hanging baskets, we think it makes the place look neat and tidy, we’ve all spent money on it to make it look better.

“All we want is that space to sit outside in the summer.”

Mick Walsh, director of housing for WDH said the company had a ‘safety-first’ approach and had tightened up their fire security legislation.

He added: “We have been advised to make all communal areas in our medium and low-rise accommodation clear zones, which brings them in line with the approach we take in our high-rise accommodation.

“By leaving communal areas totally clear, including obstacles and combustible items such as furniture and motorised scooters, it ensures the quick and safe access in and out of blocks at all times, for both tenants and the fire service.

“We have informed all those affected and will work with tenants over the next month to help them remove any items.”