Council leader claims Grenfell Tower residents resisted fitting sprinklers during refurbishment

The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council has claimed sprinklers were not fitted during the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower because residents did not want the prolonged disruption it would have caused.

Tory leader Nick Paget-Brown said there was not a "collective view" among residents in favour of sprinklers.

Experts estimate it would have cost £200,000 to install them during the £8.7 million refurbishment of the 24-storey building, which was completed in 2016.

£200k

The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association's estimated cost of fitting sprinklers in Grenfell.

£8.7m

The cost of the refurbishment of the 24-storey tower block, which was completed in 2016.

Asked if installing sprinklers was considered as part of the refurbishment, Mr Paget-Brown said the advice was that the best way to combat the spread of a fire was to contain it.

He told BBC2's Newsnight: "I didn't consider retrofitting sprinklers because we were told that what you try to do when you are refurbishing is to contain a fire within a particular flat so that the fire service can evacuate that flat, deal with the fire.

Smoke poured from the fire that engulfed the west London tower. Credit: PA

"There was not a collective view that all the flats should be fitted with sprinklers because that would have delayed and made the refurbishment of the block more disruptive.

"We are now talking retrospectively after the most enormous tragedy, but many residents felt that we needed to get on with the installation of new hot water systems, new boilers and that trying to retrofit more would delay the building and that sprinklers aren't the answer."

But he said: "Of course I regret anything that we might have done differently that would have avoided this tragedy."