Croydon council have begun the installation process of fitting sprinklers in its 25 tallest tower blocks.
Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, where over 70 residents died in a tower block fire, Croydon Council have said they are committed to improving resident’s safety.
The first flat was completed at College Green in Upper Norwood last week, and work will continue on this block and other flats until next spring. Councillor Alison Butler told EastLondonLines: “This the first of over 1,250 flats to benefit from a major council investment that will make our tower block residents safer.
“Although these improvements will impact on long-term council finances, we’ve always said we would deliver them with or without the Government’s help.”
Two residents of the tower block at College Green said they didn’t think much of the new sprinklers because a fire such as the one at Grenfell is rare.
“It’s only natural,” one resident said of the fire. “Whatever happens, happens. It’s safer now, but I can’t comment until after [the sprinklers] are installed.”
Residents will receive a letter around 28 days before work begins if their flat is to receive sprinklers.
Croydon Council announced their decision to install sprinklers in June, and wrote two letters to the government asking for help with the estimated cost of £10m. The government refused the request, saying that installing sprinklers was not essential. In a response to the request, Minister for Housing and Planning, Alok Sharma, said: “This would be where it is necessary for essential fire safety works required to make a building safe, as advised by local fire services, to be carried out.
“It would also cover cases where the landlord has received professional advice on any essential work to make cladding systems safe, following the conclusion of tests being conducted by the Building Research Establishment.
“Based on the information provided in your correspondence, it would appear that the work you want to carry out to buildings does not meet either of these categories, and the fire safety measures you outline are additional rather than essential.”
Despite not receiving any funding, Croydon Council decided to go ahead and put the safety measures in place.