The council has pressed government ministers to confirm whether they will contribute towards Croydon’s fire sprinkler investment in the borough’s 25 tallest tower blocks.
Croydon was the first council in the country to announce on 19 June it will pay for and install fire sprinklers in residents’ individual flats as part of its response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
That week council leader Councillor Tony Newman wrote to ask the government to contribute towards the sprinklers’ estimated £10m cost and for greater borrowing powers to do any future fire safety work.
Neither request was answered directly in the government’s written response. Housing minister Alok Sharma MP replied that financial resources will not prevent “necessary” work to ensure the fire safety of social housing, adding that it was up to councils to take action.
Now deputy council leader Councillor Alison Butler has written another letter to communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid MP. It read: “We completely agree that there should be no hesitation in putting in place additional measures to ensure the safety of our tenants, and that is why we announced a programme to install sprinklers in all of our blocks of 10 storeys and above within days of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.”
Councillor Butler added: “We believe these works are necessary to ensure the fire safety of our housing and therefore should receive financial support from government.”
The council’s deputy leader, who is cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, told Mr Javid that funding the sprinkler programme without government help will have a “significant impact on other capital work”.
Her letter concluded: “I look forward to hearing from you to confirm that government will be providing this support.”
The sprinklers will go into individual flats in Croydon Council’s residential blocks of 10, 11 and 12 storeys. Work will start in October and finish next spring.
Independent tests carried on Croydon Council’s tower blocks in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy have shown that all council tower blocks meet fire brigade standards, including 16 cladded blocks. The council has also set up a fire safety board with senior members of London Fire Brigade to review council policies and procedures.