A public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy is under way. At the same time, councillors in Cornwall are facing calls to fit sprinklers in all new council homes. Councillors are set to discuss the motion at a meeting today (May 22). If the proposal wins support, it will cost the council £2 million.
Neil Burden, an independent councillor, has tabled the motion. It was seconded by John Keeling, a Conservative member of the authority. In some American states automatic sprinkler systems are required in all homes. The proposal in Cornwall could make the county a national leader in domestic fire safety.
The council homes recommendation
At today’s meeting, councillors will be asked to consider the following recommendation: “Cornwall Council resolves to install sprinklers in all domestic new builds it commissions for sale or let inclusive of those homes now being built, thereby supporting the wellbeing of those people who will take occupation in future months and years.”
Those supporting the motion say it will save lives and money. As well as reducing fire damage, sprinklers could save council resources and reduce the time emergency services spend dealing with serious fires.
The motion states: “In order to promote best practice in housing development, the Council should install sprinklers in all new builds. This will not only promote wellbeing and save lives but also save revenue for the Council, and the NHS when such fire instances occur. Officers of the Cornwall Fire Service are first hand witnesses of local fatalities in recent times and continue to advocate best practise of sprinklers in all new builds. When adopted such positive example will encourage other housing developers to also install sprinklers systems in Cornwall.”
The cost of fire safety
If sprinklers are installed in all new council homes featured in the authority’s development plan, it will have to find £2 million for the installation works. Initial reports suggest it will cost around £2,500 to install sprinklers in each home with an annual maintenance cost of £150 per property.
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