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Fire risk causes Norwich letterbox changes

PUBLISHED: 11:12 06 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:14 02 July 2010

Normandie Tower

Normandie Tower

Sarah Hall

Letterboxes in the doors of hundreds of Norwich flats will need to replaced because of fire fears following a fatal blaze in London.

Letterboxes in the doors of hundreds of Norwich flats will need to replaced because of fire fears following a fatal blaze in London.

The Evening News reported last month that city council officers were carrying out checks in its tower blocks after the deadly blaze at a block of flats in the capital last summer.

And their findings have concluded that the letterboxes on the doors of up to 513 flats will need to replaced, so the council complies with its duties under safety regulations.

The first phase of the work will take place this year at the council's tower blocks at Winchester Tower in Vauxhall Street and at Normandie Tower in Rouen Road.

The checks took place after six people, including three children, died in July after a blaze at Lakanal House, a 50-year-old, 12 storey block of flats in Camberwell.

That fire prompted checks in other tower blocks across the country and Norwich City Council ordered risk assessments on its own tower blocks, managed sheltered housing schemes and area offices.

An independent auditor found work needed to be done and, at one stage, it looked like City Hall might have to replace every front door.

However, a spokeswoman today confirmed: “What we have decided is that we do need to replace the letterboxes, but not the doors.

“The first work will start this year at Winchester Tower and Normandie Tower. Potentially up to 513 are affected, but if any of them have already had their doors replaced then they won't need to have their letterboxes altered.”

She added the city council was not obligated to carry out the work, but had decided to do so as a responsible landlord.

As well as Normandie and Winchester towers, other council-owned tower blocks include the ones in Mile Cross and Heartsease.

The replacement programme comes at a time when City Hall is already facing pressure to making savings of £8m over the next two years, but a budget within the Housing Revenue Account has been identified to fund the work.

The city council spokeswoman said she was unable to reveal how much the scheme would cost at this stage, because the contract for the work was out to tender.

Do you have a story about a local council? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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