Croydon again requests sprinkler funding
A COUNCILLOR for the London borough warned there would be a ‘significant long-term financial burden’ should government funding not materialise.
Croydon Guardian reported on the warnings from Alison Butler, who has written to Housing Minister Alok Sharma ‘for a third time’ to request funding help towards the borough’s £10m sprinkler retrofitting programme, as well as a ‘face-to-face meeting’. The council has warned that government funding is a ‘necessity’ for the programme to go ahead, and that there would be a ‘significant long-term financial burden’ on the council should this funding not be given.
The news outlet added that in the months since the council ‘committed to retrofitting sprinklers’ in 26 of its tallest residential high rises, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has ‘twice refused to either contribute towards’ the programme or ‘relax council borrowing powers’. Cllr Butler added that the government was ‘adding to councils’ financial burden’ by asking for ‘extra checks on private blocks’ fire safety’ and ‘intervening in leaseholder disputes’.
Her letter stated: ‘Croydon’s fire safety programme will cost £10 million from our Housing Revenue Account, placing a significant long-term financial burden on other ring-fenced council projects. Croydon may be the first council to invest in urgent measures post-Grenfell, but we recognise that others have far more homes. In London alone, many are also still tackling cladding issues under your department’s instruction. Therefore, the full cost will not become clear for months to come, if not years.
‘Without your help to provide extra funding, local authorities like Croydon that take the initiative on post-Grenfell fire safety in both council and private housing face an unprecedented funding gap.’