Dawn Butler MP urges sprinklers in all Brent’s high rise blocks

Dawn Butler

Dawn Butler - Credit: Archant

Brent Central MP Dawn Butler is urging the council to fit sprinklers in all of its high rise blocks to avert another fire tragedy after visiting an estate in Kilburn.

Rockwall representative gives demonstration of non-combustible cladding

Rockwall representative gives demonstration of non-combustible cladding - Credit: Archant

Ms Butler held a public meeting on Tuesday with the tenants and leaseholders in Watling Gardens in Shoot Up Hill after residents’ raised fire safety concerns over new cladding that was installed on the three tower blocks.

It followed the tragic Grenfell Tower blaze on June 14 where the cladding being blamed for spreading the fire is still being investigated.

The Watling Garden’s building contractors Lawtech and Rockwall, who make cladding insulation, held a controlled live demonstration by lighting a blow torch, with a heat of 1,000 degrees on the insulation for the duration of the meeting which showed itself to be non-combustible.

Residents said a recent fire in the rubbish chutes which allowed smoke to travel up the floors had not been addressed, fire doors were not closing properly, and they called for sprinkler systems to be fitted.

Watling Gardens

Watling Gardens - Credit: Archant

Ms Butler said: “It is completely understandable that following this national tragedy at Grenfell, all tower block residents have concerns and we must listen to them, the experts and the wider community. It is also imperative that we act on those concerns.

“I urge Brent Council to look at other councils, such as Croydon Council, who have in the last few days committed to fitting all tower blocks of 10 stories or more with sprinklers and the government must step up and provide councils with the support to do this. I will also be asking the fire service to review safety measures and suggest the very best for Brent.”

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Cllr Lia Colacicco, who represents the Mapesbury ward, said: “Following the fire demonstration I feel reassured about the safety cladding used, and I think residents do too.

“The council’s fire risk assessment has identified works to the refuse chute shutter and some fire doors and I have assurances that these works are being prioritised.”

A spokeswoman for Brent Council said: “We are reviewing all of our fire safety arrangements including the use of sprinklers in our blocks.”

She said the tenant management organisation at the estate would look at the fire doors.