HC Deb 18 July 1963 vol 681 cc711-2
14. Mrs. Butler

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what safety standards he requires before giving approval to tenders for building high blocks of flats by local authorities.

Mr. Corfieid

Local authorities are themselves responsible for ensuring safety in the buildings they erect. The only requirement my right hon. Friend imposes is that they must certify that their dwellings are consistent with the building byelaws in force in the district.

Mrs. Butler

In view of the large number of children who live in many of these high blocks of flats and the deaths which have already occurred through children falling from balconies and certain types of window, is it not essential that some safety standards should be set by the Minister since it is clear that the present arrangements are not satisfactory? Is it not important that local authorities should be made aware of the need, of which they do not at present seem to be aware, to erect guards to ensure safety on these balconies, particularly where very young children live?

Mr. Corfield

I will certainly consider the hon. Lady's representations. In so far as we advise on design, the safety factors are absolutely basic to design. We give advice on design in individual cases and also generally in publications, and these matters are very much taken into account. However, I will consider what the hon. Lady has said.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the difficulty some adults have experienced in seeing out of their windows at all in these high flats, because the windows are often far from the floor? Will he take that matter into account when considering the question of balcony guards, guard screens and so on and ensure that one is able to see through them? They should not be opaque.

Mr. Corfield

I do not propose to dictate that sort of detail to local authorities.