Saturday 4 November 2017

Brent Council to proceed with fire safety measures for all its blocks over 12 storeys high

The Brent Cabinet will be asked to approve a fire safety strategy LINK  for its housing stock at its next meeting which will centre on a five year programme of fire safety measures, with a particular emphasis on sprinkers, for all its blocks that are 12 storeys or higher. Standard 4 Fire Risk Assessments would be carried out as part of the programme.

These are the blocks (click on image to enlarge or see LINK):

The programme will be at a rate of 3 per year to be completed in 5 years and will be done alongside other improvement works.

The Council is faced with some uncertainty over financing of such improvements as well as what will eventually be recommended by the post-Grenfell Public Inquiry.

The report states:
The Chief Executive wrote to Department for Communities and Local government (DCLG) to request Government provide direct financial support to meet the costs that will be incurred. The current position in response to that request is that government will neither fund the additional works, nor change the policy on 1% decrease in rents up to 2020, nor increase the HRA borrowing cap as alternative ways to fund these additional works. However, there have been suggestions that there may be further announcements in the November 2017 Budget.

This means that the £10m costs will need to be financed from the Housing Revenue Account which will  entail cuts in the  Capital Programme of at least £4.5m in 2018-19 and £3.9m in 2019-20 - unless the Chancellor comes up with some proposals in his budget.

As can be seen from the table above leaseholders in the blocks will be expected to contribute towards the costs of the improvement measures. This would raise £0.8m for the 14 blocks of over 12 storeys and £2.8m for all 37 Brent blocks. Average cost per leaseholder would be approximately £6,000.

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