Residents living in unsafe flats left furious after being made homeless

Video report by Jahmal Williams-Thomas, ITV News

Residents were given just one week to pack up everything they own and leave their homes after it was declared a fire riskPeople living at Old School Court in North Manchester were, effectively, evicted after the building was condemned as unsafe by the fire brigade.

Building safety inspections by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service found a catalogue of hazards which made it uninhabitable.

A legally binding notice came into force at 1pm on Monday saying the premises 'must not be used for residential purposes' until the 'matters specified have been remediated'.

The fire service described the order as ‘a measure of last resort when all other options have been considered’.

Fire chiefs said there had been ‘extensive dialogue and engagement with the management company and their agent’ - and said ‘significant work’ was needed.

But some residents said the order – served on October 25 – came out of the blue.Alan Buck has lived in the building, on Old School Drive, for seven years, but says he now faces an indefinite period living in a hotel.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said he would 'look at the specific case', but that 'safety cannot be compromised', after he was quizzed on the prohibition order during a public question and answer event in Bury last week.

Old School Court in Manchester

A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: "The Fire Service has served a Prohibition Order which comes into force on November 1 2021.

"The prohibition was served as there are serious concerns about the risk of fire spreading within the building.

"The Council has been working closely with the Fire Service and the Council’s Homelessness team is providing support and advice to anyone who requires rehousing during what will no doubt be a very stressful period."

Property Management firm Scanlans said it has sympathy for everyone concerned and their priority is to ensure the safety of the building.

The Victorian building, formerly Domett Street Junior School, has been part of Blackley's landscape ever since it was built in 1907.After the school's closure, it was converted into 36 apartments.