Council pledges £10 million fire safety boost for tower blocks in Brent
£10 million has been earmarked for a package of enhanced fire safety measures for high rise blocks managed by Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) following a vote by Brent’s Full Council on Monday 10 July.
The council has pledged a range of fire safety enhancements which will be specific to each block. This may include fire detection systems, alarms in communal areas and/or homes, sprinklers or smoke extraction systems.
While none of Brent Council’s 37 high-rise blocks are covered in dangerous cladding and are all are fire risk compliant, the council says the cash boost has been agreed to ensure that Brent is ‘among the very best’ for fire safety in high rises.
Brent is one of the first councils in the capital to reveal plans for a major roll-out of fire safety improvements since the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “Grenfell changed everything. When it comes to fire safety, ‘good enough’ is no longer good enough.
“Here in Brent we have 37 high rise blocks and they’re all fire risk compliant. But we also have lots of people asking whether those rules and regulations are actually up to standard, and who can blame them? So we’ve found the money to go above and beyond what’s required, to ensure that residents are safe – and feel safe – in their homes.
“Obviously, eight years of austerity have not made this easy, and no doubt some will find a way to criticise our decision. But we can't afford to wait any longer for Government to take the lead, which is why we’re committing £10m to this work, right now. And if we get the Government to step up and put its money where its mouth is then all the better.”
Brent Council is responsible for approximately 9,500 council tenants and 3,000 leaseholders’ homes in the borough, which are currently managed by BHP.
The £10 million is in addition to the almost £10 million which has already been invested in fire safety works – such as fire doors, fire detection systems, lighting and signs – in Brent blocks since 2012.
While no council block in Brent has used the Aluminium Composite Material (ACM), which has been the subject of recent Government tests, a number of blocks run by registered housing providers in Brent have. The London Fire Brigade has visited these blocks and advised that evacuation of these blocks is not necessary due to the standard of fire safety measures in place in the blocks, all of which are new-builds and not retro-fitted properties.
A full report detailing the programme and schedule of works for the enhanced package of fire safety measures for Brent’s high rise blocks will be discussed in the autumn.