Call for sprinklers in Leamington tower blocks in light of Grenfell Tower disaster

Eden Court, Lillington'Ref: 08MAY10
Eden Court, Lillington'Ref: 08MAY10
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A call for action has been made to get sprinkler systems installed in tower blocks in the Warwick district following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington, is calling on Warwick District Council to install sprinkler systems in the nine tower blocks owned by the council.

It is six months on from the Grenfell Tower disaster, where 71 people were killed and over 70 were injured, after a fire started in the high-rise flat in London.

Matt Western said: “Warwick District Council have recently announced a £2.5million investment to implement a range of fire safety measures in the nine tower blocks, including replacing and upgrading all front doors which is to be welcomed.

“However, the council has only committed to installing sprinkler systems in bin areas and the timeline for their installation has yet to be announced.”

Mr Western met with Peter Phillips, Warwick District Council portfolio holder for housing, on Monday December 11 about sprinkler systems in all communal areas in the tower blocks.

Matt Western said: “Six months on from the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, it’s essential that, here in Warwick and Leamington, we learn the lessons from this awful incident.

“While I welcome the £2.5 million investment by Warwick District Council to improve fire safety in their tower blocks, there are nine tower blocks owned by Warwick District Council that should be installed with sprinkler systems in all communal areas – not just bin areas as currently proposed by the council.

“This would ensure the safety of residents living in these flats in the event of a serious fire. I plan to meet with the council again in January to discuss the budget needed for this and gain a commitment for sprinkler systems to be installed in all communal areas in these blocks. I would hope that Government would be supportive of cash-strapped councils in delivering this.”

Cllr Peter Phillips, said: “Neither Matt Western or myself are experts in fire safety. It is therefore important that we are guided by the outcomes of the various Grenfell enquiries, and the recommendations of the detailed technical assessments of the high-rise buildings in our district.

“I am therefore disappointed that our local MP has chosen to raise this without a full understanding of the issues. His actions have the potential of unnecessarily worrying the residents of our blocks, with whom we have been working closely to provide reassurance and ensure their safety.”

A spokesperson from Warwick District Council said there were technical issues around installing sprinkler systems.

They said: “The issue of retro-fitting sprinklers to high rise blocks raises complex technical issues.

“Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower the council has drawn on the advice of fire safety experts, who have concluded that the consideration of sprinklers cannot be addressed in isolation and must be part of an overall approach to fire safety in our high-rise blocks, such as ensuring that buildings are divided into compartments to stop fire spreading and the installation of automatic fire detection systems.

“Officers from Warwick District Council have already visited a landlord who has retro-fitted sprinklers to some of their multi-storey blocks with colleagues from the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and following this we are undertaking our own detailed technical assessments to establish whether it is feasible or even effective to fit sprinklers to any of our nine blocks.”