More than 450 flats in Norwich tower blocks to be inspected for safety after Grenfell Tower fire tragedy

Markham Tower in Mile Cross, Norwich. Photo: Luke Powell

Markham Tower in Mile Cross, Norwich. Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people in Norwich's tower blocks face an anxious wait to discover how safe their homes are, as more than 450 flats will be inspected following the Grenfell tragedy.

Normandie Tower on Rouen Road, Norwich. Photo: Luke Powell

Normandie Tower on Rouen Road, Norwich. Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

The specialist checks - on more than 450 council flats and leaseholder flats - will establish whether any adaptations have been made which has created a fire hazard, which will then need to be put right.

The city council is carrying out the checks following the devastating blaze in the London tower block, last month.

The fire caused at least 80 deaths, but the final toll is not yet clear.

The day after the tragedy, Norwich City Council commissioned a review of fire risk and safety at its own tower blocks.

The fire at the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Picture: RICK FINDLER/PA WIRE

The fire at the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Picture: RICK FINDLER/PA WIRE - Credit: Archant


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That draft report is currently in the hands of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, but the inspections form part of the process.

There are 95 flats in Normandie and Winchester towers in the city centre.

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The other six - Ashbourne, Burleigh and Compass in Heartsease and Aylmer, Seaman and Markham in Mile Cross - have 44 flats.

Gail Harris, cabinet member for social housing at Norwich City Council, said: 'The council will conduct a full-scale physical detailed inspection and specialist survey of all eight residential tower blocks which are in the property portfolio.

Mafalda Simao, 25, who lives with her partner Pedro Neto, 28, who live on the 12th floor of Normandi

Mafalda Simao, 25, who lives with her partner Pedro Neto, 28, who live on the 12th floor of Normandia Tower. Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

'We will also inspect all individual flats in tower blocks. Residents have been informed of this and, indeed, some had requested that the council undertook this task.

'This work will take place over a 12-week period and will give clear knowledge to the council to ensure the safety and well-being of residents who live in tower blocks.'

She said the checks would also investigate whether fire safety equipment such as alarms, smoke detectors and sprinklers needed to be installed or upgraded.

The council said, should it be needed, it had an existing capital programme and repairs budget which would be used in the first instance to pay for necessary changes.

Norwich city councillor Gail Harris. Pic: Submiited

Norwich city councillor Gail Harris. Pic: Submiited - Credit: Submitted

The inspections have been welcomed by people living in the tower blocks.

Pedro Neto, 28, who lives on the 12th floor of Rouen Road's Normandie Tower, with his partner Mafalda Simao, 25, said the action was reassuring.

He said: 'I think the inspections are a good thing as it means they are taking it seriously.

'Following the Grenfell fire, we were a bit scared..

'We saw it on the TV and because we live in a tower block, it does make you concerned.

'But we are now more relaxed because they are clearly taking measures to sort the situation out.'

Former city councillor Eamonn Burgess, who also lives in Normandie Tower, said: 'I don't think they could do better than they are - in talking to every individual tenant.

'That has got to be the best approach they can take and the council has my full co-operation with what they are going to do.'

A council spokesman stressed none of the council's tower blocks had external cladding.

Detectives investigating the Grenfell Tower have been looking at the role of the cladding and insulation in the spread of the fire.

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