Sprinklers will be installed at Northampton flat block following pressure from tenants over fire safety concerns

St Katherine's Court was recladded in March.
St Katherine's Court was recladded in March.
6
Have your say

A Northampton high rise flat block is having sprinklers installed as "extra reassurance" for residents following the Grenfell Tower fire, it has been revealed.

In the past fortnight, there has been mounting pressure for social housing providers across the UK to install sprinkler systems in their high rises following the devastating blaze in London.

Locally, Northampton Partnership Homes has faced similar calls from opposition groups on the borough council. Campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) were also planning a protest on July 10.

But the management company has now announced it will have the system installed at St Katherine's Court, in St Katherine's Street, by autumn.

It also comes after the nine-storey building received new cladding in a major facelift in March, leading to concerns from tenants over the flat block's fire safety.

A spokesman from Northampton Partnership Homes said: "Since the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, our first priority has been to check and review our own fire safety arrangements.

"We want to offer extra reassurance to our residents that their safety is our top priority. We’re pleased to confirm that although we are not required by law to install them, we have already contracted to install a sprinkler system in the fire exits and communal areas of St Katherine's Court."

On June 14, an estimated 79 people died when a fire engulfed the Grenfell Tower council flat in London.

It is believed the spread of the fire was aided by the building's flammable cladding, which has led to hundreds of blocks now being tested across England.

St Katherine's Court, in Northampton, was recladded during renovation works in March, leading to fears from residents that it needed to be tested.

A spokesman from Northampton Partnership Homes said: "There has been a lot of speculation regarding our refurbishment works at St Katherines Court.

"We have checked with our contractors and suppliers and have confirmed that the cladding being installed at St Katherines Court is not the same as at Grenfell Tower.

"The cladding is a layered composite enamel that is deemed a non-risk product and is not required to be submitted for testing.

"We are therefore wholly satisfied that as well as being fully compliant with current regulations, our approach to fire safety offers us full assurance."

The Government plan to test cladding from 600 blocks across England, the BBC has reported. So far, dozens have been discovered to have flammable or unsafe cladding.

PA Housing's Newlife Building 2, one of two flat blocks in Lower Cross Street, was evacuated in January after a major fire on the fifth floor.

A spokesman for PA Housing said: "Both of our towers were fully refurbished in 2006 and have brick slip and render cladding, which is not flammable in any way. The insulation used is rock wool, which is not flammable and is designed to prevent the spread of fire.

"We have no plans [to install sprinkers] at the moment but we will continue to review the situation in line with legislation and fire safety guidance."