£570,000 put aside by St Albans council for high-rise fire safety measures after Grenfell Tower tragedy

Telford Court

Telford Court - Credit: Archant

More than £500,000 has been put aside for extra fire safety measures in St Albans’ only high-rise block of flats following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Telford Court

Telford Court - Credit: Archant

Sprinkler installation in 60 Telford Court flats would cost £128,000, but extra decoration after the work increases the expense to £420,000.

Temporarily rehoming residents while the work is carried out, in case of asbestos disturbance, will hike the outgoings to £570,000.

This money has been set aside by St Albans district council (SADC) in case an independent Government review recommends sprinklers should be installed in all high-rise buildings across the country, as anticipated.

The report should be finished by next spring and until then, only high-rise blocks built after 2007 are required to use sprinklers.

SADC’s portfolio holder for housing, Cllr Brian Ellis, said: “We have been both quick and thorough in our response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

“Fire risk assessments across our properties show that we have been reducing the fire risk.

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“However, we will not get complacent and will continue to work on these issues.

“It is right that we have budgeted for fitting sprinklers at Telford Court flats as this is a measure we may well have to undertake.

“I can assure residents, though, that the current safety risk is low and we will consult with them on all future plans.”

After the Grenfell disaster in June SADC checked the electrics and smoke alarms in each flat at Telford Court and emergency lighting was upgraded.

The SADC inspection of Telford Court caused controversy at the time, when residents were not informed their personal belongings would be thrown away from storage areas under the flats and irreplaceable items of sentimental value were trashed.

Risk assessments were also carried out at all 256 smaller blocks of flats, as well as sheltered housing, owned by SADC.

The London blaze started from a Hotpoint fridge freezer and spread quickly up the building via flammable cheap outer cladding. It took about 200 firefighters just over 24 hours to extinguish the flames, during which 65 people were saved and about 80 died.

Telford Court does not use that cladding - it is covered in concrete.