Nottingham City Council is set to press ahead with an £8.4 million programme of sprinkler installations and other safety measures in 13 high rise blocks despite the Government so far refusing to provide the financial support it promised immediately after the Grenfell disaster.
None of the Council’s residential high rise blocks have the same cladding suspected of being a major factor in the Grenfell fire. However following the tragedy, Nottingham City Homes, which manages the Council’s social housing, carried out a comprehensive review of fire safety in conjunction with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), and also consulted extensively with tenants.
As a result, a number of safety measures have been recommended in a report due to be discussed by the Council’s Executive Board on 24 October, including:
- Fitting sprinklers in all high rise communal areas and homes
- Replacing intercom systems
- Installing a Public Address system linking to new intercoms
- Alter the operation of existing fire alarm systems and update and improve processes and procedures
Councillor Jane Urquhart, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage, said: “All our high rise blocks have current fire risk assessments and are fully compliant with current regulations. However, following the Grenfell fire, we wanted to reassure tenants and ourselves that everything possible was being done to ensure buildings are safe.
“It’s hugely disappointing that the Government has backtracked on its commitment to provide support to councils on safety measures. But this issue is so important, that we simply have to go ahead with the recommended improvements as a priority, despite the impact this will have on other planned housing schemes which will now have to be reduced or delayed.
“Along with other councils up and down the country, we will continue to press Government ministers to be true to their word and come up with the financial support promised.”
Nick Murphy, Chief Executive of Nottingham City Homes, said: “The safety of our residents is our over-riding priority. Following the devastating Grenfell Tower tragedy, we believe the installation of sprinkler systems in all our high rise blocks is now necessary for tenants to feel as safe as they can be in their own homes.
“We will continue to work closely with our tenants and arrange further block meetings so people can find out more about how sprinklers operate before we install them. We have also asked tenants to be vigilant and to keep corridors clear of anything which may be a hazard in an emergency.”
NFRS’ Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Bowcock, said: “Sprinklers are the most effective way to ensure that fires are suppressed or even extinguished before the fire service can arrive.
“They save lives and reduce injuries, protect firefighters who attend incidents and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment from fire.”