Navan apartments evacuated over fire safety concerns

Meath council working with receivers on compliance at Kentstown premises

The apartments at  Kentswood Court, Johnstown, Navan, Co Meath. Photograph: Barry Cronin

The apartments at Kentswood Court, Johnstown, Navan, Co Meath. Photograph: Barry Cronin

 

The upper level of an apartment block in Navan, County Meath, has been evacuated because of fire safety concerns.

Meath County Council has confirmed it is working with receivers Grant Thornton to establish what needs to be done to make the Kentswood Court complex at Johnstown compliant with fire safety legislation.

Some 20 apartments are included in the two-storey complex which is located at the entrance to the sprawling Johnstown area on the outskirts of Navan, where almost 3,000 new homes were in the last 10 years.

The council said an application for a fire safety certificate was received for Kentswood Court complex in 2006. But it said the application was turned down as the complex “ did not comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations 1997”.

A council spokesman said it had been approached by the receiver of the complex, Grant Thornton, on behalf of the Bank of Ireland, in recent weeks.

“Following an inspection by the fire authority and subsequent recommendations made to the receiver, a schedule of works to make the building compliant with the building regulations, was discussed,” the spokesman said.

Efforts to contact tenants of the upper floor were not successful yesterday afternoon. Local councillor Joe Reilly said a rental company had found alternative accommodation for them.

But he said he was concerned to know why the apartment complex had been let to tenants after the initial request for a fire certificate was refused to development company Vicarage Green Ltd, in 2006.

Tenants were notified of the difficulty in recent weeks by letter from the letting agent, Royal Rentals. The notice advised them the upper floor would have to be vacated by December 1st. Mr Reilly praised the company’s efforts in finding alternative accommodation.

Some 10 families on the complex’s ground floor are unaffected by the notices.

It is understood the works required to bring the upper floor apartments up to standard include the installation of a fire detection and alarm system, along with alterations to the windows to provide an escape route in the event of fire. Another requirement was that the doors to the apartments should be fire resistant and fitted with a self closing device.