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Plans announced for £200,000 sprinkler system at Lowestoft tower block following Grenfell tragedy

PUBLISHED: 18:30 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:40 19 July 2017

Waveney District Council have announced plans for a £200,000 sprinkler system at St Peters Court, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

Waveney District Council have announced plans for a £200,000 sprinkler system at St Peters Court, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Plans for a £200,000 sprinkler system at a 16-storey residential tower block in Lowestoft have been announced in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building. Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building. Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

The proposed scheme for St Peters Court, in Chapel Street, would see the system installed in each flat within the Waveney District Council owned building to provide reassurance for residents.

The council says the tower block has an excellent fire safety record, with a wide range of measures already in place – including a regular testing programme to ensure standards are maintained.

However, Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council, believes that events in London have led to concerns about high-rise living and seeks to reduce any possible anxiety among its residents.

Mr Bee said: “No-one could fail to have been extremely moved and, of course, deeply troubled by the events of four weeks ago at Grenfell Tower in west London.

Waveney District Council have announced plans for a £200,000 sprinkler system at St Peters Court, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher. Waveney District Council have announced plans for a £200,000 sprinkler system at St Peters Court, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher.

“The devastation and loss of life has been on an absolutely unimaginable scale.”

Residents of St Peters Court were invited today to a meeting with housing and fire officers who said they are investigating the installation of a building-wide sprinkler system - costing £200,000.

Anita Carlisle, 54, an 11th floor resident, said: “I think the meeting has been brilliant. It addressed issues that most residents have been worrying about.

“It makes us feel safe that rather than wait they are going to be proactive.

“It gives you peace of mind – I feel safe and after the meeting I now know what I should and shouldn’t do in a fire.”

Fellow resident Brian Mackaye-Morrison, 70, said: “It’s ideal and it’s needed. I’m happy, I feel safe – we have only had one fire in my time and I’ve lived here since 1995.

“The awful thing is it takes something awful like Grenfell for this to happen but the meeting was very reassuring.”

Mr Bee said they would look to install the system as soon as practically possible and that it followed on from Waveney MP Peter Aldous’ campaign to install sprinkler systems in more buildings following the devastating Wessex Food factory blaze in Lowestoft in 2010.

Safety recommendations

The sprinkler system follows on from a range of reassurance activities which the council has undertaken in the aftermath of Grenfell Tower.

Waveney housing and building control officers along with Suffolk Fire Service visited St Peters Court a week after the London blaze and additional safety recommendations have been implemented.

Mr Bee said: “This decision is not because of specific safety concerns or issues but because we want to provide residents with another, extra layer of reassurance.

“It is really important to ensure that residents not only are safe, but also feel safe – and I personally believe this is a measure which will help those who live at St Peters Court feel more at ease.

“We believe this would be money very well spent and we will now begin a feasibility study immediately to move this forward. Money is not an issue - it has already been confirmed.”

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