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Dumped rubbish is Felmores fire hazard
RUBBISH dumped in alleyways could put lives at risk if another blaze breaks out on a fire-hit estate, according to residents.
People living in Bockingham Green, Basildon, have repeatedly found rubbish and garden waste piled up in an alleyway used as a fire escape.
On one occasion, a trampoline was dumped there They said it was causing a serious fire hazard, made even more worrying with firefighters set to go on strike for eight days in a row later this month.
Billie MacManus, 38, said: “Between the back alley of Bockingham Green and the new build, people are dumping rubbish there and dog poo bags.
“I cleared my garden and had to get it out of my garden, but can’t because of all the rubbish in the way.
“We’ve got this rubbish blocking routes that could be used as fire escapes.”
A fire in Bockingham Green last July left six homes uninhabitable.
Miss MacManus said: “The Felmores estate is already such a fire risk even with the new cladding.
“Firefighters going on strike means everyone has to be extra vigilant.
“It’s always concerning. As soon as anyone on the estate smells a fire everyone is out of their house. People are defensive and worried.”
Felmores homes are currently being re-clad by Basildon Council, to make them safer in the event of fire.
Gavin Callaghan, Labour councillor for Pitsea North West, said: “I worked very hard to push the council into spending £6million on the re-cladding work, which has now thankfully started, but it is not enough on its own.
“We are attempting to change the face and fortune of the Felmores estate, and that requires a holistic approach from the coalition council – from housing, to street cleaning and rubbish collection.
“The council now has to play its part in delivering the whole package, quickly and effectively.
“This includes quickly clearing the rubbish in the alleyway.”
A Basildon Council spokesman said it was sending a team down yesterday to sort out the latest rubbish.
He said: “Basildon Council is aware of the situation at Bockingham Green and dispatched a street scene crew.”
FELMORES has been plagued by fire since a block of flats went up in flames in Bockingham Green in 2009.
Eight flats were gutted after arsonists set light to a fly-tipped sofa.
After another fire in 2010 and one in Winstree months later, the council pledged to make the estate safe.
But a blaze started by a chip pan ripped through six homes last July.
The council is carrying out a £6million re-cladding project after recommendations from the fire service and has faced pressure to replace the wooden-clad homes.
The council carried out a raft of improvements including upgrading front doors to offer more flame resistance and plans to install sprinkler systems in council-owned properties look set to go ahead this year.
A pilot sprinkler system in seven homes is expected to be completed on Friday.