Search

Tower block fire safety in Brent could cost leaseholders £6,000 each

PUBLISHED: 16:06 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:06 15 November 2017

Cathedral Walk, one of Brent Council's 37 blocks (Brent Council)

Cathedral Walk, one of Brent Council's 37 blocks (Brent Council)

Archant

Council chiefs in Brent are to install fire safety measures across its 37 blocks that could cost leaseholders £6,000 each.

Brent Council cabinet members approved a fire safety improvement programme which includes sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire alarms in its high-rises, estimated to cost £14m, on Monday night.

Of the 37 blocks in Brent owned by the council, 14 of them are 12 storeys or more, which could be legally required to have sprinklers in the future.

Approximately 20 per cent of the blocks inhabitants are leaseholders and the council has seen from that pool of housing income there is £2.8m of ‘recoverable costs’ which equates to around £6k per leaseholder.

Following a full council meeting in July to discuss the scheme, letters were sent to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for financial help but it has so far refused.

Cllr Muhammed Butt said: “When we first looked at this we did write to Sajid Javid MP pointing out that we want to make sure all our residents feel safe in their homes.

“The response was disappointing. We want to ensure all residents we are taking fire safety seriously.”

A Brent Council spokesman said: “The Grenfell Tower fire showed that when it comes to fire safety, ‘good enough’ is no longer good enough, which is why despite all of the council’s tower blocks being up to current standards,

“Brent Council took the unanimous decision to roll out these fire safety improvements to ensure that everything that can be done on fire safety, is done.

“Since then, we have been lobbying the government for extra money to pay for these works and have also asked, in case they can’t or won’t provide the money, for the freedom to find the money ourselves through borrowing.

“So far the government is refusing to budge, meaning that we have to fund these works from the housing account, which has to finance all works to council properties. If leaseholders didn’t contribute then there would be less money in the account for other works, however it will take some time to specify the works, and we will be consulting throughout the process.

“We will also be keeping up our pressure on the government. How can it be that under law, the government insist that new tower blocks over 30 metres must have sprinklers, yet older, existing blocks don’t require them as they are ‘to standard’?

“It smacks of utter hypocrisy and there being one rule for the rich and another for the poor.”

A DCLG spokesman said: “Building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe for residents and we expect them to fund fire safety measures.

“Councils should contact DCLG to discuss their position if they have any concerns about funding fire safety works.

“Ministers have been clear we will consider financial flexibilities for councils who need to undertake essential fire safety work to make a building safe.”

Latest Kilburn & Brent News Stories

Police in Brent have London’s second worst average response time to 999 calls, new figures reveal.

A man and woman gunned down in a double shooting in Harlesden are in a stable condition in hospital.

A small charity in Kensal Green has received funding to offer free computer classes to pensioners.

Yesterday, 13:54

Caribbean families flooded into a Willesden church to pay their respects for fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives in both World Wars.

Lucy Casey has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the “unbelievably brutal attack” that killed Hannah Leonard.

Yesterday, 12:58

A band of ex-Gurkhas from Wembley’s Nepalese community led Sunday’s parade to Barham Park war memorial, where a civic service of remembrance took place paying tribute to military personnel killed in conflict over the past century.

Yesterday, 12:06

A Cricklewood charity has teamed up with a football club to launch an initiative so that people who dread Christmas don’t feel so isolated.

Yesterday, 11:19

It’s a hidden part of British history, but to a community it’s a chapter that means a great deal.

PROMOTED CONTENT

A new community centre, The Yellow, opens in Wembley Park in the heart of the Brent community. From October 1, the hub will offer a selection of arts and fitness classes, many of which will be free.

The Granville has begun taking bookings for workspaces and events ahead of its opening this spring.

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group has announced changes to the community’s cardiology service.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Kilburn Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read Kilburn News

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now