What has been done to keep Leeds high-rise residents safe after Grenfell?

Sky Plaza looming over Leeds.
Sky Plaza looming over Leeds.

So far, six sheltered high-rise blocks in Leeds have had sprinkler systems installed.

Contractors are also now introducing them to the council’s two highest blocks and work is due to finish in August.

Fitting of sprinklers to a further 27 high-rises blocks is planned from September 2018.

Read more: Leeds City Council's 'adverse' situation after post-Grenfell fire safety cash denied

Twenty-one of those blocks are part of the Leeds PIPES district heating network.

Agreement has been reached with the contractor for this scheme to facilitate the installation of sprinklers alongside the introduction of new heating systems.

It is anticipated that all works will be completed by 2020.

The heat-activated systems will provide a water mist from a sprinkler head when triggered.

Systems have been installed in each flat, common areas and high-risk rooms, such as bin stores.

Fire safety works are also under way at private tower buildings in Leeds.

Leeds City Council’s Building Control (BC) team have reviewed 144 privately-owned high-rise blocks in the city.

Of these, 72 were visited and assessed by the BC task group and 12 were found to have cladding similar to that on Grenfell Tower.

BC “worked closely” with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to inspect them and “ensure that interim measures were in place” to enable the residents of these buildings to occupy them “in safety,” the council said.

Agreement has also been reached with the council’s Private Finance Initiative contractors for it to install sprinkler systems in the two sheltered high-rise blocks that are under PFI management.

Student accommodation tower Sky Plaza, run by the Unite Group, was closed last year as a “precautionary measure”.

In a statement the company said: “Over the summer of 2018 our Sky Plaza property has been undergoing refurbishment to upgrade the building and its facilities.

“This includes the installation of a brand new sprinkler system amongst other health and safety features. Our highest priority is always the safety of our students, and this refurbishment continues to ensure Sky Plaza meets the most stringent health and safety measures whilst providing a comfortable and safe home for our students.”

It is undergoing internal and external refurbishment, removing cladding from the outside of the building. It will be upgraded with cladding that has passed the latest UK building control tests, the company said.