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Grenfell lessons shared in Suffolk as part of London council boss visit

PUBLISHED: 12:33 07 February 2018

Public leaders from across Suffolk meet with Eleanor Kelly. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Public leaders from across Suffolk meet with Eleanor Kelly. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

A leading council boss, who oversaw the aftermath of two tragedies in London, has said lessons must be learned from “every emergency situation,” during a visit to Suffolk.

Public leaders from across the county met with a council chief executive who oversaw the aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack and played a major role in the response to the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, as part of a visit that was arranged through the Suffolk Local Resilience Forum.

The group – which has responsibility for overseeing emergency planning arrangements for Suffolk – arranged the meeting with Eleanor Kelly, the chief executive of Southwark Council, who visited to share vital lessons from the tragedies.

She had helped to support the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the aftermath of the fire and helped to co-ordinate support for those affected.

During her visit to Ipswich, Ms Kelly met with the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group, which includes the leaders and chief executives of Suffolk’s eight councils as well as the Police and Crime Commissioner, chief constable, the cabinet member for public protection, the chief fire officer and representatives from Suffolk’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Ms Kelly said: “Suffolk has been really proactive and is one of the first areas seeking to learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower disaster.

“What happened in Kensington last year was something that will stay with the people affected, and the people who worked to help them, for the rest of their lives.

“We must learn lessons from every emergency situation, and following the Grenfell tragedy, local government and its partners need to really challenge themselves about how well they understand and listen to local communities, as well as ensuring they have solid plans in place for any future emergency.”

Since the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has inspected and visited the more than 100 residential high-rise buildings across the county, and practiced its 999 high rise responses in Lowestoft and Ipswich.

New sprinkler systems have been installed, or are soon to be installed, in high rise buildings at Cumberland Towers in Ipswich and St Peters Court in Lowestoft.

Waveney District Council immediately responded to concerns raised by the Grenfell disaster by agreeing to install a brand new, whole-building sprinkler system and have undertaken numerous exercises in partnership with fire crews to reassure residents.

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