Leeds council has launched an urgent fire safety action plan for the city’s private sector high rises following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
An emergency meeting was held yesterday at Leeds Civic Hall between the heads of all the council’s departments to discuss the issue.
It comes almost a fortnight after the inferno in London which claimed 79 lives and made hundreds of families homeless.
The council today confirmed that as well as an “extremely robust” review of fire safety at its own tower blocks, it is also carrying out urgent checks in private sector blocks, which can include student accommodation blocks and other high rises. A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Following the terrible events at Grenfell Tower, we are undertaking a range of work with partners to ensure the fire prevention procedures that are in place at council tower blocks continue to be extremely robust.
“This sits aside our other top priority of providing reassurance to residents who understandably have voiced their concerns around different aspects of the tragedy. To make sure that our city’s response remains coordinated and joined up, we are now working with the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and owners of tower blocks to carry out safety checks in the private sector. This includes supporting the Government’s offer of urgent free cladding testing and also a strong joint recommendation to review fire safety strategies in each building.”
Leeds has 116 tower blocks managed and owned by the city council. Multiple letters have been sent out to all council tenants in the last two weeks, and mobile advice points have also been set up. Councillor Debra Coupar, the council’s cabinet spokeswoman for communities, said that as none of Leeds’s council blocks have the same cladding as Grenfell, the Government does not require the city to take any further action. But she added the authority had ordered independent tests “just to make sure for our own sake that they are 100 per cent safe”.
Councillor Coupar said: “We have about 10,000 people living in multi- storeys in Leeds and we want them to be able to sleep at night and not live in fear.
“However we don’t want to have kneejerk reactions. We have tested our blocks and the are all safe to live in.
“But what we do want to do is take any lessons learned from the Government review, and that we are carrying out, to make sure that all of our multi storeys are as safe as they can possibly can be for our residents and tenants to live in.”