Enhanced fire safety works agreed at council flats in Nottingham

Residents in 375 flats in Bestwood are set to benefit from additional fire safety measures which will give them further peace of mind that they would be safe in the event of a fire.

Following full consultation with the residents, the Leen Valley flats in Bestwood, which comprises two or three storey low-rise blocks, will benefit from enhanced fire safety works after Nottingham City Council agreed to fund the work.

Work will be carried out by Nottingham City Homes and specialist contractors, with residents benefitting from an upgraded fire detection system across all flats and the communal areas.

The upgrade will be beneficial for residents with a visual or hearing impairment. Residents with disabilities will all get home visits to discuss their needs and see what specific adaptations they need, such a vibrating alarm or a specific strobe type of lighting. These residents will also get training and demonstrations of the system once installation is complete.

The current fire detection and alarm system in the blocks meets all current legal requirements. However, in line with the approach that the council and NCH have taken to fire safety since the Grenfell tragedy, the current arrangements have been re-assessed. The current policy in the event of fire in the Leen Valley blocks is one of simultaneous evacuation, as opposed to ‘stay put’ as it is in most other Councils flats.

These fully upgraded fire detection systems will support this approach, by having a system that will be linked to all of the flats and the communal areas, so that if there is a fire in one flat, the alarm is raised for all residents to evacuate.

Other remedial works to bring flats up to required fire protection standards such as fire doors, have already been carried out.

Fire safety works have already been happening at council-owned low-rise and high-rise blocks in the city as part of the £8.5m fire safety enhancement programme, funded by Nottingham City Council following the Grenfell fire. Cladding on all NCH-managed council blocks meets the required safety standards, and is not the same as that used on the Grenfell Tower.

This work included:

  • Retrofitting sprinklers in high rise flats and communal areas of 13 high rise blocks
  • Upgrading existing intercoms with new tablets and door entry systems
  • Upgrading existing tannoys.

Councillor Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage at Nottingham City Council, said: “Since the terrible tragedy at Grenfell in 2017, we have undertaken a huge amount of work to reassure our residents.

“All of our council blocks have current fire risk assessments in place and these new works at Leen Valley are another step in this programme of work. While our buildings are safe, it is worth ensuring that we have the latest and most advanced systems installed.

“We have already funded significant fire safety works in council high rise buildings and we will continue to urge the Government to help us pay for this vital work, so that we don’t have to delay other housing improvements as a result of the additional cost.”

Nick Murphy, Chief Executive at Nottingham City Homes, said: “I am pleased that funding has been approved to carry out these important works in Leen Valley. Residents were consulted about the proposed works and 85% of those who responded were in favour of the works being carried out and felt it would make them feel safer in their homes.

“We have already carried out major fire improve works in other council-owned buildings across the city and feedback from residents has been positive. These additional works will help to improve fire detection in these buildings but also create a bespoke system for those with visual or audio impairments.”

It is estimated that this programme will cost £766,000, with most of the funds coming from Housing Revenue Account (HRA) capital programme.

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