News

Second staircases set to be added to Meridian Water tower blocks

Council ‘speaking to developers’ after new fire safety regulations announced, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The plans for a 30-storey tower block with a single staircase at Meridian Water and (inset) the Grenfell Tower disaster (credit Natalie Oxford/Wikimedia Commons)
The plans for a 30-storey tower block with a single staircase at Meridian Water and (inset) the Grenfell Tower disaster (credit Natalie Oxford/Wikimedia Commons)

Developers planning tower blocks with single staircases will be asked by Enfield Council to revise their designs after the government moved to ensure high-rise buildings have two staircases.

New regulations, which could affect high-rise towers set to be built at the council’s flagship housing scheme Meridian Water, will make it mandatory for all new residential blocks over 30 metres high to have second staircases.

Several towers at Meridian Water taller than 30m have recently been approved with only one staircase proposed, despite concerns being raised by councillors and other groups during planning committee meetings.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is currently consulting on the proposals for mandatory additional staircases as part of measures to improve building safety following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Some industry experts, including the Royal Institute of British Architects, have long called for at least two separate staircases in residential blocks to provide an alternative escape route if a fire breaks out.

Following the government’s announcement, council leader Nesil Caliskan said officers were “reviewing the authority’s development pipeline” and talking to development partners “about revising designs to include additional staircases”.

Cllr Caliskan added: “I have also asked officers to engage with private-sector developments above 30 metres which are not yet on site, to ensure they are aware of the emerging new regulations and can prepare accordingly.

“Where changes are sufficient to require revisions to homes which already have planning permission, normal procedures will be followed regarding alterations or variations to the grant of planning.”

In September, the council’s planning committee approved a 101m-high 30-storey block with a single staircase at Meridian One, the first phase of Meridian Water. Four more towers above 30m were approved the following month for a separate phase of the flagship scheme, each with a single staircase.

Meridian Water developer Vistry Partnerships has been approached for comment.


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