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Council to invest £1.35m in next phase of tower block sprinkler programme

Published on Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A FURTHER £1.35milllion is set to be invested in fitting sprinkler systems at more city council tower blocks in Leicester, as work nears completion at the first block to have the new fire safety measures installed.

Leicester City Council is set to approve the new funding to pay for the installation of sprinkler systems at its four remaining residential high-rise blocks – Clipstone House, Framland House and Gordon House on the St Peter’s estate, and St Leonard’s Court in Clarendon Park.

The new systems will be retrofitted in all flats, with minimal disruption to tenants who will not be required to move out of their homes during the works.

Work is already underway to fit a new £450,000 sprinkler system at the 18-storey Maxfield House in St Peter’s. It will see five individual sprinkler units installed in each of the block’s 85 flats.

The 1970s concrete block is currently empty while a major £2milllion refurbishment project is carried out. This has seen all flats redecorated and refitted with new kitchens, bathrooms and flooring.

Communal areas of the tower block have also been refurbished and the entire block has been rewired with new, more efficient heating and ventilation systems fitted throughout. New lifts have already been installed and all communal fire doors have been replaced.

All works at Maxfield House are due to be complete by the end of March, with tenants expected to be able to move back into their homes during April.

Although there is no statutory requirement to do so, Leicester City Council took the decision to fit sprinkler systems at all of its residential tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby added: “It is vital that we keep up the momentum with this important work. The safety of our residents is an absolute priority. That’s why we are proposing to invest £1.35milllion to carry our work on our four remaining residential tower blocks and get this next phase of fire safety work under way as soon as possible.”

Cllr Andy Connelly, assistant city mayor for housing, said: “It’s great to see the progress being made at Maxfield House. It is the latest phase of our ambitious tower block refurbishment programme, but it also marks the first step of our commitment to fitting new sprinklers systems in all of our residential high-rises.

“I’m really pleased that tenants will be able to move back into their homes and benefit from these improvements in just a few weeks’ time.”

Work is expected to begin on retrofitting new sprinklers at the next council tower block – Framland House – this summer.

Goscote House – the tallest city council-owned block at 23-storeys – is set to be decommissioned and then demolished after structural reports called into doubt its long-term viability. The block is currently being used to provide temporary accommodation during the Maxfield House refurbishment.

The city council is in discussion with Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service to allow Goscote House to be used for training purposes once it is vacant.

Councils will be asked to approve the £1.35million investment in the next phase of the sprinkler retrofitting programme at a special meeting of full council to agree the budget, due to take place on Wednesday 20 February.