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‘No cause for concerns’ after Norwich tower block fire checks, but safety work will be needed

Normandie Tower, Rouen Road, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Normandie Tower, Rouen Road, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Initial findings from inspections of Norwich’s tower blocks, triggered by the Grenfell fire tragedy suggest ‘no cause for concerns’, but safety work will be needed.

The charred remains of Grenfell Tower. Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIRE The charred remains of Grenfell Tower. Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIRE

Following the devastating blaze in the London tower block in the summer, Norwich City Council started specialist checks on more than 450 council flats and leaseholder flats.

The checks, done along with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, have been establishing whether any adaptations made have created fire hazards, which would need to be put right.

Gail Harris, deputy leader of Norwich City Council, said the majority of flats had now been visited, with attempts still being made to get access to the remainder.

She said the findings would be evaluated to see what work or changes to the council’s fire safety procedures would be required.

Gail Harris, deputy leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Submiited Gail Harris, deputy leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Submiited

She said: “With the thoroughness of the surveys such as this, it is anticipated and indeed expected, that some works will be required to make sure that every flat is safe, though it is important to add that the initial findings are no cause for concern.

“I anticipate that a full programme of works will be made available to members, tenants and leaseholders within the next month or so.

“The council is committed to making sure that tenants have the maximum opportunity to influence any changes that may be required to the council’s fire safety policy and procedures, as well as changes in the legislation that may result from the independent review following the Grenfell Tower disaster.”

The last risk assessments of the city’s eight tower blocks, in 2014 and 2013, showed a low or medium risk at all the blocks.

The report said stairwells needed to be kept clear of clutter and found smoke alarms were not fitted in communal areas.

Aylmer Tower in Mile Cross, an 11-storey block with 44 flats, has not had a full fire risk assessment since 2013, while the other seven tower blocks - Ashbourne, Burleigh and Compass in Heartsease, along with Seaman and Markham in Mile Cross - were assessed in 2014.

At least 80 people died in the blaze at the 23-storey Grenfell Tower in June.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick is chairing an inquiry, with an interim report due to be published by next Easter.

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