Suffolk’s high rise housing will be assessed for fire risks within next four weeks

Cumberland Towers in Norwich Road, Ipswich. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Cumberland Towers in Norwich Road, Ipswich. Picture: SU ANDERSON

All high-rise housing in Suffolk will be checked for fire risks within the next four weeks, according to Ipswich Borough Council.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London, where at least 79 people lost their lives, 44 residential buildings in Suffolk which stand more than four storeys high will be assessed.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said the Building Control Team, directed by the Department of Local Government, were sending off samples of cladding to be tested as well as issuing safety advice to residents.

He said the fire risk assessments would be completed at every high-rise residential block in Suffolk, even if they are not under the control or owned by a council.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service are also supporting the process.

The spokesman said the 12-storey Cumberland Towers in Norwich Road has already been fire checked and given the all clear by fire inspectors.

Housing officers visited the block soon after the Grenfell Tower fire to reassure residents the design and construction of the building is very different from the high-rise in west London.

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Ipswich Borough Council’s head of housing Ian Blofield also sent a letter to all residents which read: “The Cumberland Towers system meets all Fire Safety and Building Regulations standards.

“We will monitor the investigation into the London fire and take any learning necessary from it.”

Cumberland Tower was turned into sheltered accommodation for older people in the 1980s and is currently going through a refurbishment.

The government has said that cladding samples taken from 60 high-rise buildings across 25 local authorities in England have failed fire safety tests.

Although the buildings are yet to be named, it is believed one of them is Brennan Bank tower block in Norwich.

Tendring District council is also conducting checks on its high-rise housing stock whereas Braintree District Council say they do not have any high rise buildings under its control.

A spokesman for Colchester Borough Council said: “We do not have any buildings above 18m in our housing stock and therefore are not undertaking the testing of the kind that has been instigated by the Government for high-rise blocks.

“As a precautionary measure, however, and in order to reassure our tenants, we are conducting safety checks on all of our two- and three-storey properties, which will be completed soon.”