Two West Leeds high rise blocks of flats have been earmarked to have new sprinkler systems installed, following the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Gamble Hill Croft and Gamble Hill Grange in Bramley will benefit from the sprinklers in a bid to improve fire safety in the 12-storey blocks.
They are two of eight blocks across the city earmarked for sprinkler systems.
A Leeds City Council report said:
“The council has previously identified that none of its tower blocks are at risk from the same form of cladding as used at Grenfell Tower and that all the cladding systems used on blocks owned and managed by Leeds City Council have been tested and approved.
“However, as a result of the tragic events at Grenfell Towers it was decided to prioritise the remaining retro-fitting of sprinkler systems to Leeds City Council’s high-rise blocks.”
Leeds City Council is giving priority to blocks which meet a number of criteria, including:
- provide sheltered housing
- have vulnerable occupants
- have a history of previous fires
- have a single staircase or basement car park
- based on height and number of occupants.
The council has agreed to pay sprinkler company Armstrong Priestley up to £3.76 million over the next three years, with the option for a further 12 months. An additional £490,000 will be spent by the council on recruiting 15 new staff to help carry out the work.
Housing Leeds initially focussed on blocks reserved for older people, who may be more vulnerable in the event of a fire. Six blocks have already been retro-fitted with sprinklers, including Marsden Court in Farsley and Rycroft Green in Swinnow.
The report – which can be read in full here – adds:
“It is expected that the proposed strategy will add a further layer of protection to tenants, reflecting on the vulnerability of individuals in our blocks and the recommendations of fire chiefs.
“This is not a solution that purely relies on sprinklers in order to prevent the spread of fire. It is felt that this approach offers the most timely and cost effective way forward.”
The three West Leeds blocks of flats with cladding all have fire retardant cladding fitted.
The council has said around £22 million needs to be spent to install sprinkler systems in all blocks across the city.
The Grenfell Tower disaster left 71 people dead. Police and fire services believe the fire started accidentally in a fridge-freezer on the fourth floor. The rapid growth of the fire is thought to have been accelerated by the building’s exterior cladding and the lack of a sprinkler system.
Last June Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves called for all high-rise flats in Leeds to have sprinklers fitted.