Press release: Council reassures residents over high-rise safety

Following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in London, Crawley Borough Council is reassuring residents that all high-rise residential blocks in the town are made of solid, non-combustible materials.

There are no tower blocks within Crawley – this term is used for buildings over 12 stories.

Crawley does have five residential blocks of six or more storeys – the height that the Department for Communities and Local Government has been requesting information on.

The blocks are Milton Mount in Pound Hill (seven storeys), Platform in the town centre (eight storeys), Pegler Court (six storeys), Fairfield House in West Green (eight storeys) and First Choice House in Northgate (six storeys).

Only Milton Mount is owned by the council. The most recent fire risk assessment took place on 9 June 2017. The block is of brick and block cavity construction. It does not have external cladding.

None of the four privately-owned blocks are clad in the same material – aluminium composite cladding – as used on Grenfell Tower. All five blocks comply with building and fire regulations.

The council undertakes fire risk assessments annually on its high risk stock, which is buildings of six storeys or over, sheltered housing and hostels, and undertakes fire risk assessments on 20 per cent of its low risk stock annually so over a five-year period the entire council portfolio is assessed.

The council’s fire prevention measures for its enclosed blocks of flats – regardless of height – are:

  • No smoking signage in place in the communal area in every enclosed block of flats
  • Security door entry systems to reduce the risk of arson
  • Keeping communal areas such as halls and stairwells completely clear to ensure ease of access for fire crews and egress for residents
  • Electrical testing is carried out in homes every five years
  • Emergency lighting in communal areas has a full annual test and a twice yearly operational test
  • Evacuation procedures are displayed in the communal area of every enclosed block of flats. Two of the larger blocks of flats have their own procedure in the event of a fire, which residents are advised of.
  • Crawley Homes staff are vigilant when visiting flats and report any concerns.

The council will also review its fire safety policies following any recommendations from the Fire Service.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “The tragic events at Grenfell Tower have understandably led to concern among residents – and their friends and families – who live in high-rise buildings in Crawley.

“I want to reassure those residents that we take their safety extremely seriously and will keep our fire prevention policies under review.

“We have stringent measures in place to reduce the risk of fire in our blocks of flats and we will continue to work with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to ensure residents’ safety.”

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