Leeds MP says government ‘hasn’t learned lessons from Grenfell’

October 5, 2018

Alex Sobel hits back after the government says it will not fund installation of sprinklers in every tower block in Leeds.

By Jack Church

The plan for sprinklers to be fitted in all tower blocks around the West Yorkshire area was talked about even before Grenfell, and still remains a priority for Leeds City Council.

This will mean that Leeds city council will have to spend £10 million without any remote funding from the Government.

Copyright Ian S and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

High Living, Clyde Grange tower block, Leeds.

Grenfell tragedy

On 14 June last year 72 people died and a further 70 were injured when 24-storey Grenfell tower block caught on fire.

It spread because of combustible cladding, which is still used in some cities, which was fitted on every floor of the block.

The conservative led government promised to re-house all of the survivors of the disaster. However people were still left without a house months after the incident. Also they said that combustible cladding, the cladding used at Grenfell, was going to be banned but it is still commonly used by tower blocks around the UK today.

‘Appalled’

Labour MP for Leeds North West, Alex Sobel raised his concern about the lack of funding.

“I am appalled at the Government’s lack of investment into Leeds’s tower blocks and the safety of our citizens once again falls to our underfunded council.”

“The Government have obviously not learned the lessons from Grenfell.”

“This is further compounded by the fact that they have not banned combustible cladding as the enquiry report stated.”

“Less Money”

Leeds City Council says the government’s decision will impact on other services.

Neil Evans, the director of environment and housing at Leeds city council, said:

“We are still going to go ahead with the original plans despite not getting the £10 million we asked for from the government, which would have helped massively.”

“This now just means that the money needed will come out of the money tenants pay for rent. By making the sprinklers a priority, this therefore means that there will be less money available to fix things like the heating in flats or if dampness appears on the walls.”

“Of course we would  prefer to have the option of having more money available for maintenance of the flats, so that tenants could have the best living environment possible, but this has been one of our top plans and we are sticking to it.”

A Fire broke out on Monday the 1st of October, at Cottingley Flats, but due to the different type of cladding used in tower blocks across Leeds, no one was injured.

The director of environment and housing also said:

“Our flats have fire retardant cladding, not the same cladding that was used for Grenfel tower. So if there is ever a fire, the design of the cladding contains the fire inside the flat and it does not spread outside.”

Queenswood Heights, Headingley, Leeds - Copyright Stephen Craven and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Queenswood Heights, Headingley, Leeds – Copyright Stephen Craven and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

“The sprinklers will ensure that the fire goes out immediately and therefore be more beneficial to vulnerable people, who maybe have problems with mobility. Of course the sprinklers will be beneficial to everyone in the tower blocks, but will allow people with disabilities or older residents more time to evacuate the building.”

The plan to get all the sprinklers fitted in tower blocks will take 5 to 10 years according to Neil Evans.

 

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