FOLLOWING the tragic fire in Grenfell Tower in London in which at least 58 people lost their lives, local authorities have reassured tenants living in high rise accommodation that they are safe.

After the horrific events in the capital on Wednesday, Westover councillor Brian Smedley was quick to call on Homes in Sedgemoor and Sedgemoor District Council to communicate with residents in Somerset's only high-rise block, the 10-storey-tall Westfield House in Bridgwater.

The two authorities issued a statement which reads: "All our colleagues at Sedgemoor District Council and Homes in Sedgemoor were distressed to hear of the fire in London and our thoughts are with all those people who have been affected by this event.

"In order to reassure the Council’s tenants and our customers in Sedgemoor, we can confirm that we have current and up-to-date fire risk assessments on all of our low rise blocks and our one 10-storey high rise block, Westfield House in Bridgwater.

"Westfield house also has a full ‘double knock’ fire alarm system that has detection equipment inside the flats and in the communal areas. There is also a sprinkler system within the basement to cover the caged storage areas that are allocated to each flat. These systems are regularly serviced and maintained, with fire alarms and fire doors being tested every week.

"We take the safety of all of our customers seriously. Within our communal spaces we have a ‘Clear Space’ policy to ensure that in the event of an emergency, people are able to evacuate the building quickly and safely, along a ‘protected route’."

Cllr Smedley said: “What the residents need immediately is reassurance. However, part of this process is to urgently review safety issues. The findings of the London incident will be crucial to what long term plans the authorities make to ensure such a tragedy doesn’t occur here."

West Street resident Jeff Rawles said: “The ‘Stay Put’ policy needs reviewing along with assurances on the cladding of the buildings, the evacuation procedures and escape routes in the event of incidents. Residents are also concerned about the satisfactory completion of works by contractors, materials used and potential for updraughts.”