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Grenfell Tower fire: Neighbouring council boosts fire safety with new £20m plan

Hammersmith and Fulham Council will look at sprinklers in tower blocks and more safety checks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire

A new £20 million fire safety improvement package is being introduced in Hammersmith and Fulham following the Grenfell Tower fire.

It will include new measures such as sprinklers in tower blocks and safety checks and comes after a fire safety review across the borough.

There will also be an advisory group to act on the concerns of residents, after it emerged the Grenfell Action Group’s continued fears of a fire “fell on deaf ears” .

Announcing the Fire Safety plus package on Tuesday (July 18), council leader Stephen Cowan said: “ The fire in Kensington has made one thing clear – just meeting minimum fire standards is not enough.

Stephen Cowan said more money would be spent on fire safety post-Grenfell in Hammersmith and Fulham

“It’s worth recognising that Grenfell Tower had a valid fire risk assessment and still became a catastrophe.

"The regulations are clearly not good enough so we will be going above and beyond what is required.”

The H&F Fire Safety Plus package includes:

  • Sprinklers in tower blocks: Hammersmith and Fulham Council is drawing up specifications for each block where sprinklers would help improve safety.
  • Replacement of concierge staff: The council is replacing concierge staff at Edward Woods and Charecroft estates and will look at doing the same at other estates where concierge staff have been removed in the past.
  • Better fire assessments: Independent experts are reviewing fire safety in all communal blocks, including assessments to check the outside of the building.
  • Safety checks for every home: Every resident is being offered an individual safety check visit.
  • Free replacement appliances: If, during a safety check, white goods (washing machines, fridges, tumble dryers etc) that fail PAT safety checks are discovered, the council replace these appliances with a brand new one for free.
  • New fire doors: Any external fire door to a tenants’ or leaseholders’ flat doesn’t meet safety standards, will be replaced with a 60-minute fire resistant door for free.
  • Free heat detectors: New heat detectors will be installed during the visit, while properties which have these already will be checked to make sure they’re working properly.
  • Free plug adaptors: Cube-style plug adaptors, which residents are advised not to use by London Fire Brigade, can be exchanged for linear adaptors for a free, and a safer extension lead.
  • A new resident advisory group: In addition to letters and the listening sessions on estates over recent weeks, the council is setting up a residents’ advisory group on fire safety, to work on its improvement plans.
  • Fire safety plus booklets: A detailed Fire Safety Plus booklet is being sent to all Hammersmith and Fulham tenants and leaseholders with details of the plan above and things people can do to keep themselves and their families safe.

Cllr Cowan said: “We want our residents to know that we care deeply about their safety, we understand their concerns, and we will do everything it takes to keep them safe.

“All councils need to do more to make sure tenants’ and leaseholders’ homes are safe.

"We’ve got work to do here - that’s why we’ve developed an H&F Fire Safety Plus programme to make sure our properties meet higher standards. And we’ve set aside £20m to pay for it.

“Tenants and leaseholders have been working with us to shape our Fire Safety Plus package.

“We’ve been visiting estates and hearing residents’ concerns and suggestions for improving fire safety – and we’re acting on that with a massive programme of works.”

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