Grenfell Tower tragedy prompts council advice as seafront tower developer provides fire safety reassurance

Latest plans to redevelop Worthing's Aquarena, designed by architect Allies and Morrison SUS-160208-111543001
Latest plans to redevelop Worthing's Aquarena, designed by architect Allies and Morrison SUS-160208-111543001

The developer behind a planned tower block on Worthing seafront have outlined how it will make the construction fire safe in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

At least 30 people died when fire ripped through the 24-storey tower block in North Kensington on Wednesday.

Roffey Homes, which plans to build a 15-storey tower on the former Aquarena site, in Brighton Road, has reassured residents it has drawn-up detailed plans to make its building safe.

Roffey managing director Ben Cheal said the firm employed a specialist fire consultant more than a year ago to pour over its plans, which received approval in January.

He said: “Simplistically, the taller building shall have both passive and active fire protection.

“The design currently shows sprinklers, fire-fighting lift, protected escape staircase, dry riser and smoke shafts within it. The concrete frame and balconies, on all sides, shall act as solid compartmentation between floors so the ability for fire spread externally is severely limited, if not fully removed.”

Mr Cheal said four separate parties would inspect the construction details as the project begins.

Adur and Worthing councils released a detailed statement on Friday, providing advice on fire safety for residents.

The councils said their own residential properties, which include 2,576 Adur Homes dwellings, were maintained to the ‘highest safety standards’.

Carson Albury, Adur District Council cabinet member for customer services, said: “Our thoughts are with the victims of the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower and their families.

“I want to assure residents of Adur Homes that we have always and will continue to take all possible steps to ensure the safety of our properties.

“We leave no stone unturned in upholding the highest safety standards.”

Adur Homes has two six-storey tower blocks in its portfolio. The council said they did not have cladding similar to that on the exterior of Grenfell Tower.

Recent refurbishment included replacing fire doors and upgrading emergency lighting.

The councils also work with private landlords to ensure fire safety requirements are met.

Since 2016, the councils’ private sector housing team responded to more than 400 complaints about living conditions and served 129 enforcement notices to landlords.

The vast majority of the notices required improvements to fire safety.

Worthing Borough Council cabinet member for customer services Heather Mercer said: “I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and their families.

“Here in Worthing we work throughout the year to ensure people living in private accommodation are protected from risk and as our record shows will do not hesitate to take action if landlords do not meet their obligations.”

A fire safety question and answer guide is available at hwww.adur-worthing.gov.uk/news/pr17-071.html