Barnet Council has agreed an additional £12.5million to pay for fire safety works to be carried out across the borough.
Hendon Town Hall
The funding was unanimously agreed by the council’s Housing Committee on Thursday 21 June, and will now go to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee for approval.
The funds are part of the council’s ongoing response to the Grenfell Tower fire, and will provide for the installation of sprinkler systems for blocks of flats with 10 or more floors and a single stairwell.
The £12.5m agreed by the committee is in addition to £17.5m agreed by the committee last year. This brings the total earmarked for fire safety works to £30m.
The budget will be allocated from the council’s Housing Revenue Account. The council expects £7m to be reimbursed by central government for work being carried out to replace cladding on three tower blocks in Barnet.
In the immediate wake of the Grenfell Tower Fire, Barnet Homes acted quickly to remove the cladding from the three tower blocks at Granville Road, NW2, as the exterior cladding panels were similar to those used at Grenfell Tower. The work was completed in October 2017.
Work is currently underway to replace the cladding and is due to be completed later this year.
At the same time, Barnet Homes reviewed its Fire Risks Assessments for all of the council’s high-rise blocks. Following agreement from the committee last year, Barnet Homes has been progressing with a programme of high-priority fire safety works across the borough.
This has included work to improve fire stopping provisions within buildings, replacement of doors, increased air ventilation to gas systems, as well as improving access for the emergency services.
The updated programme agreed by the committee on Thursday now includes work to install sprinkler systems for blocks of flats with 10 or more floors and a single escape stairwell, and the installation of fire detection systems.
In addition, the committee agreed that Barnet Homes should proceed with developing a programme of fire safety work for low and medium-rise flats. Officers will bring proposals back to the Housing Committee in October.
Chairman of the Housing Committee, Councillor Gabriel Rozenberg, said: “In the wake of the horrifying fire at Grenfell Tower, we acted immediately to remove any cladding that failed fire safety tests in Barnet. All such cladding was removed within four months.
“We are now spending millions more to strengthen building safety across the borough. Our risk assessment showed that the most critical next step was installing sprinkler systems in tall blocks that have only one stairwell. These will now be delivered.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our residents, and more improvements are to come. At each stage we will proceed strictly on the basis of the evidence.”
The report considered by the committee is available online.