After the horror of the Grenfell fire in June 2017, senior Sheffield Council officials moved quickly to reassure tenants that all its tower blocks were safe. They soon back-tracked after plastic cladding on Hanover Tower in Broomhall failed fire safety tests.
An investigation was promised. The Director of Housing said, “we will not rest in getting to the bottom of this matter.” The Cabinet Member at the time stated, “they took a piece of cladding to the tenants at a consultation and they didn’t put that up. That was the cladding that we asked for. That was the cladding that we were told was on the building.”
Hanover residents were told, “we need to look at every stage of the sign-off process for the works. Once we have the information we will take action against the contractor or SCC staff.”
Over three years later, we now know the contractors merely did what they were told: it was the council’s own staff who specified the use of plastic cladding, despite residents and elected councillors being told otherwise.
An alternative report on what we now know is on the Sheffield Greens’ website at: www.sheffieldgreenparty.org.uk/hanover.
It is unclear why this took over three years to come to light when the information must have been held by council staff all along. It is hard to believe the council now says it acted with “integrity” and that it hopes the report will “strengthen confidence in the council.” Residents and councillors were misled by their own staff.
The street trees fiasco exposed a culture of lies and cover-up. The council leadership must now take firm action to address this obvious whitewash.
Councillor Douglas Johnson
Sheffield Green Party