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Thursday, 13 April 2017

UPDATED: Redbridge Fire - Did the Council Fail AND Lie to the Public?

The fire damage to Redbridge Towers
As we have previously posted, Southampton Independents campaigners Denise Wyatt and Councillor Andrew Pope were with residents on Sunday night, after the fire at Redbridge Towers.

We were there when the Council failed to look after residents, with only one person there to look after hundreds of people, most of whom were Council tenants.

Since then, Denise and Andrew have spoken with more residents, to listen to their concerns about how the Council handled the fire.

We have been standing up for residents, and speaking to local media on TV and in print.

The Southern Daily Echo Front Page Tuesday 13th April 2017
We would provide a link to the ITV Meridian News piece, but there is no way of linking to it that we are aware of.

Here is a transcript of part of what was a very thorough report.

ITV interviewed residents, the Fire Service and Cllr Andrew Pope. ITV also referred to people who were affected by the tragedy at Shirley Towers, almost seven years ago to the day.

ITV journalist Richard Slee said:
"There are complaints that Southampton City Council didn't do enough to help residents."
Independent Councillor Andrew Pope said:
"There was only one, maybe two, Council officers there the entire evening.
There were a lot of Council tenants affected.
And those involved didn't know what was happening and they weren't being looked after.
Eventually the school was opened up, but that was several hours after the incident.
And it was too late because most of the people were already back in the block."
In a statement to ITV Meridian, Southampton City Council said:
"A Duty Officer from Housing Services was on the scene, ensuring that residents were kept warm and secure in Redbridge School... and that ward councillors were also on site speaking with tenants."
We have challenged the Council statement because residents told us that it is factually incorrect. And we believe that it is factually incorrect too - because we were there!

We have asked the Council's Communications officers to send us the statements made to ITV, the BBC and the Echo. We have asked also for who authorised those statements.

And we've given them until the end of today to do so...

UPDATE (Saturday 15th April 2017): The Council's Communications officers finally responded around 4pm on Thursday. We will be publishing our full response in the near future, but we can confirm that what they told the media contains information that is factually incorrect, as we stated above - and more importantly, what residents believe are bare-faced lies.

It would add insult to injury to residents if the Council sought to cover up its failures, or for the Council to lie about what happened, wouldn't you think?

Tell us what you think using the contact details here.

Please keep coming back to this website. Like our Southampton Independents Facebook page to know when there are updates and follow our @SotonIndies Twitter feed.

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