Doncaster tower block to get cash boost for sprinklers following Grenfell Tower tragedy

Silverwood House is one of nine tower blocks in Doncaster to get sprinkler systems following the Grenfell Tower fire in London which killed 71 people in June, 2017.
Silverwood House is one of nine tower blocks in Doncaster to get sprinkler systems following the Grenfell Tower fire in London which killed 71 people in June, 2017.

A block of flats in Doncaster will benefit from grant cash to install a sprinkler systems following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.

A block of flats in Doncaster will benefit from grant cash to install a sprinkler systems following the Grenfell Tower disaster in London.

Silverwood House in Balby will see £209,150 worth of money from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue's reserves - which is 50 per cent towards the total costs with the council funding the rest.

Around £305,000 will be used to install sprinklers in each of the 129 flats while the remaining £111,000 will be used to cover the communal areas, store areas, tank rooms and controls.

In June last year, the block's window sills were tested as housing officials said they were 'similar' to those used on the Kensington tower block which went up flames in a matter of minutes, killing 71 people in June last year.

But housing bosses were quick to reassure residents there is little chance of a similar fire as it would be 'harder for the flames to spread'.

The council, in partnership St Leger Homes, have already installed new smoke alarms and heat detectors across their housing stock and sprinklers in communal bin stores since the tragic events in Kensington.

In a new report, Carole Fox, an officer working within corporate resources at Doncaster Council, said the Grenfell Tower tragedy 'brought into focus the need to strengthen the safety infrastructure' on residential tower blocks in the town.

She said: "In Doncaster, high risk properties were not fitted with sprinkler systems, this situation inevitably poses a significant degree of on-going risk, which, based on the findings and outcomes of the Sheffield pilot project at Callow Mount, could be readily eliminated by a commitment to retrofit sprinklers into such properties at an affordable cost per flat.

"This initiative will provide a safer environment for tenants in one of Doncaster’s high rise accommodation. The building is located in one of Doncaster’s most deprived wards and where there are a large proportion of tenants and residents who are either elderly, live alone, have physical impairment, mental health problems, learning difficulties or may be suffering from substance misuse."

Coun Glyn Jones, cabinet member for housing, said: “It is vitally important that our tenants feel safe in their homes which is why we have committed £4 million of our council’s capital budget to invest in fire safety for council housing. The installation of the sprinklers will play a big part in reassuring those who live in our high rise flats.”

A report was approved by cabinet members on July last year to approve the installation of sprinklers in all high rise blocks.

Between 2003 and 2004, £2.5 million was spent upgrading the external appearance of Silverwood House, which was built in the 1960s.

Silverwood House underwent a £1.9 million renovation in 2015 with the installation of thermal render and window replacements.

The block comprises 129 flats spread over 17 floors, and most of the residents are elderly.