Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent flats' fire doors 'still death traps'

Graham Barrett & Richard Snell
Image caption Richard Snell (pictured on the right) initially raised concerns about the doors' safety in 2011

Stoke-on-Trent council is "refusing to take responsibility" for installing faulty fire doors which have put lives at risk in city flats, say tenants.

The council released a report in August which said foyer and front doors at 11 blocks in the city did not meet fire safety regulations.

However, residents said work to replace the doors - which were installed in 2011 - has still not been done.

The council said it was working "as fast as possible" on the issue.

'Attitude appalling'

Resident Richard Snell, 67, said: "If I were in the council's position, I would want to do something about this as soon as possible before something really bad happens.

"The only thing that can possibly be stopping them is the question of who pays for it."

He said the doors were a "death trap" and the council had "constantly refused to take any responsibility" for the problem.

"The fact we have been put into this kind of danger is quite incredible to us," he said.

"Why is nothing happening? We feel this council has got to be held to account. I find their attitude appalling."

The doors were installed at Forest, Boundary, Southern, Brookfield, Robinson, Penkhull and Dibden Courts in 2011, as part of a £1.3m scheme by the city council and contractor Kier Stoke.

Sixty-six doors

Residents, including Mr Snell, contacted Labour MP Tristram Hunt after becoming concerned about the doors.

Mr Hunt ordered the council to carry out an investigation in March.

The authority's report said 66 foyer doors do not meet the required fire resistance standard of 30 minutes.

It also listed a number of problems with the doors, stating many of them do not open and close properly.

A spokesperson for Kier Stoke said they expected to start work soon.

Stoke City Council's assistant director for housing, Val Bourne, said: "Kier has undertaken to rectify the problems at no extra cost to the taxpayer.

"We are maintaining the pressure to ensure this is delivered as fast as possible."

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