No plans to install sprinklers in Northampton's housing blocks despite calls in the wake of London tower tragedy

The biggest social housing provider in Northampton said there is currently '˜no requirement' to install sprinkler systems in all its flat blocks in the wake of the London high-rise disaster.

Tuesday, 20th June 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th June 2017, 3:53 pm

Northampton Partnership Homes, which manages all of the borough council’s social housing stock, said it would consider doing so if required to by law, however.

Councils around the country are facing increasing pressure to improve fire safety measures in their managed properties after at least 79 people lost their lives in the devastating flat fire at the council-owned Grenfell Tower in London.

Last week The Fire Protection Association said a sprinkler system would have ‘definitely’ saved lives in the devastating blaze.

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But in a response to the recent calls, a spokeswoman for NPH, said there were no immediate plans to retro-fit its current blocks, the tallest of which being St Katherine’s Court in Spring Boroughs.

“We are all shocked and saddened by the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower,” she said.

“We have regular contact with our local fire service and continually monitor fire safety in all of our blocks.

“We are looking, and will continue to look closely at information released by the fire service following this tragic event and review our arrangements to make sure that our residents are kept as safe as possible.

“There is no requirement for NPH to retrospectively install sprinkler systems to the blocks we manage on behalf of NBC.

“If this changes as a result of the learning from the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, we will of course take the necessary action without delay.

“We know that recent events are particularly worrying for people living in multi-storey blocks and we would urge any of our residents to contact us if they are concerned, or feel they need extra support at this time.”

But speaking to the Chronicle and Echo yesterday the head of the county’s fire service Darren Dovey said sprinklers should be a compulsory feature of housing blocks.

He said fire fighters in Northamptonshire have been actively working with landlords across the county to review their fire safety guidance in recent days as well as dishing out practical advice to residents.

But he said they are limited in what they can do.

“We can only ask people to do things that are in legislation. We could not impose that people put sprinklers in, for example.

“But we have always said that.

“In my opinion, when you build new fats they should be fitted with sprinklers.”

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