The planned prohibition of the use of an apartment block in Sheffield is still expected to proceed as planned, due to serious fire safety concerns.
Fire safety inspecting officers from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue served a prohibition notice on Wicker Riverside on 5 December because previously identified issues with the building had not been resolved and interim measures which had been in place can no longer be considered interim.
The notice comes into force on 31 January- which coincides with the expiry date of a previously served enforcement notice and allows time for residents to find alternative accommodation.
SYFR Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andy Strelczenie, said: “Prohibiting the use of a building in this way is always a last resort, particularly when it will cause so much disruption to those living there. Ultimately though, the safety of the residents must come first. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this horrendous situation, but we simply cannot allow this unsafe situation to continue.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the responsible persons to ensure the matters within the building can be resolved. Responsible persons are now making efforts to remediate issues within the building as quickly as possible and the prohibition notice will be removed as soon as we believe it is safe to do so. But as things stand, we fully expect the notice to come into force on 31 January.
“Alongside Sheffield City Council, we’ve been meeting with residents regularly to help explain what the notice means and to support them in finding alternative accommodation.”
The fire service originally served an enforcement notice on Wicker Riverside in December 2020 and has continued to engage with the responsible persons since then to ensure the safety issues identified by inspectors were resolved- but this has not happened within the timescales set out in the notices.
The issues with the building include its internal fire compartmentation- things designed to stop a fire from spreading throughout a building- and the external cladding.
SYFR is responsible for enforcing fire safety laws in South Yorkshire. It employs fire safety inspecting officers who carry out fire safety audits. If the inspecting officer identifies any fire safety deficiencies, they have a range of options available to them- including issuing a prohibition notice.
A prohibition notice is a legal notice. Where there is a serious and imminent risk to life fire safety inspecting officers can prohibit or restrict the use of premises. If the premises continues to be used against the prohibition notice, then anyone failing to comply with the notice may be prosecuted.