PROACTIVE councillors welcomed new safety measures at blocks of flats to reassure residents in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

Reading Borough Council could spend as much as £2.5m – with a 10 per cent contingency – on improving the fire safety regulations at Coley High Rise Tower Blocks by replacing the water storage facility and installing a new sprinkler system.

The age of the pipework has seen the number of repairs sky-rocket in recent years and a thorough investigation was held in the aftermath of Grenfell into high-rise buildings in Reading.

Councillor John Ennis, lead member for Housing, was delighted to lead the discussion at a recent Policy meeting on Monday, but condemned the government for failing to support councils by funding improvements to high-rise accommodation.

He said: “I know many of the residents I met last week certainly welcome this recommended action.

“It is a positive set of proactive steps. I think it is important that we reassure our tenants in high-rise blocks after Grenfell and I think the council has done a good job at this.

Reading Chronicle:

“We are doing it with no funding from the government, we are doing it by ourselves. We are not waiting for any extra money to be made available and we are not waiting to be told by new legislation.

“Some people have applied for government funding but they are still struggling to get any money or commitment to support projects.

“Our council officers are very proactive and I think it is important that we reassure residents. Our tenants want to know that they are safe in the blocks of flats and the work of the council in my view is exemplary.”

The current water storage facility is at the end of its shelf life and frequent site visits have been carried out to help prevent the risk of legionella developing.

At least 80 people were confirmed or presumed dead after a blaze took hold of the 24-storey block of flats in North Kensington in June.

Some councillors questioned why the project had not been financially backed by the government, after Westminster promised to back initiatives that would reduce the risk of a repeat disaster.

The council has three 14-storey blocks in Coley and four eight-storey blocks on Granville Road in Southcote, but none were found to have panels or cladding similar to the Aluminium Composite Material, which caused the inferno to escalate.