Fire Safety Work For Bristol Tower Blocks to Cost £100 million, Under New Proposals

Plans to improve fire safety in Bristol’s high-rise tower blocks will cost almost £100 million, Bristol City Council has revealed.

It follows two major fires last year in which one resident was killed.

The proposals – which are due to be voted on at a full council meeting in February – will see flammable cladding stripped from more than 30 tower blocks, new sprinkler systems installed, as well as fire alarms.

The work could take up to ten years to complete, and it comes with a warning that council rents will go up and savings will have to be made elsewhere.

Councillor Tom Renhard said: “The money is coming from a few places. Some of it is about a 30 year business plan. So we’re looking at what we’re doing in that cycle and making sure we are as tight as possible.

“Some of it will come from a rise in rents for council tenants – but all of that rise will go back into the existing council stock. Funds will also be drawn from our reserves and there will be a couple of things we will be stopping or not doing as quickly, like around our garage and laundry refurbishment programmes.”

Resident Shaban Ali lives in Barton House which has a waking watch due to the flammable EPS cladding.

He says he is ‘ecstatic’ about the plans to install sprinklers and remove the cladding. But he admits he is concerned about the proposed 7% rise in council rents to help fund it.

Mr Ali said: “Why should safety cost us? Everyone that lives in a flat or house should be entitled to safe living. It feels like you’re giving with one hand and taking with the other. It’s harsh, it’s harsh.”