DOZENS of council apartment blocks do not have lifesaving sprinklers installed – against the advice of fire chiefs.

The National Fire Chiefs’ Council has called for all residential buildings with four floors or more to be installed with sprinkler systems after a huge fire tore through student flats in Bolton last month.

But a Freedom of Information request from The Argus revealed 44 council-owned housing blocks in Brighton and Hove which are four storeys or taller do not have sprinklers installed.

These include Essex Place in Montague Street, Brighton, and St James’s House and High Street, Brighton, two high-rise blocks which had sprinkler systems approved last September.

Brighton and Hove City Council and East Sussex Fire and Rescue service had pledged up to £300,000 in funding for the buildings.

But a council spokesman said installing the sprinklers was delayed because of “feedback from residents”.

An East Sussex Fire Brigade Union spokesman said fitting sprinklers to these buildings was essential to prevent another blaze similar to the Grenfell Tower fire in London which killed 72 people in 2017.

“Firefighters on the frontline understand the importance of sprinkler systems in assisting to prevent the rapid growth of fires,” he said.

“In June of this year we called on the Government to retrofit sprinklers in high rise buildings as part of our ‘Grenfell Never Again’ campaign.

“However, sprinkler systems should not be viewed as a ‘golden bullet’. There is no replacement to a properly funded and resourced fire and rescue service.”

A number of housing blocks without sprinklers are clustered in the same areas.

Four high-rise buildings around Swanborough Drive in Whitehawk have no full sprinkler systems.

Meanwhile eight blocks of flats around Donald Hall Road in Kemp Town also have no sprinklers installed.

Developments in Ellen Street in Hove and Wellington Road in Elm Grove lack sprinklers too.

The Argus:

National Fire Chiefs’ Council chairman Roy Wilsher said all buildings four storeys or taller should have sprinklers installed.

“Sprinklers should be mandatory in all new residential buildings from 11 metres, or four floors and above, at a minimum,” he said.

“The NFCC has previously championed the requirement for sprinklers in high-rise block of flats above 18 metres.

“With the threshold for sprinklers now being considered separately from a number of closely related safety measures, we believe the threshold should be lowered to 11 metres.”

A spokeswoman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said sprinklers would “reduce death and injury from fire” and reduce risks to firefighters.

“It has been proven that sprinklers and other forms of automatic fire suppression systems can be effective in the rapid suppression of fires,” she said. “There are many considerations that take place when identifying the suitability of a premises to ensure that the whole building fire strategy is addressed.

“East Sussex Fire and Rescue has and continues to support and offer advice to Brighton and Hove City Council with any decision to retro fit sprinkler systems.”

A city council spokesman said it wanted to install sprinklers in all of its tower blocks.

But it said some tenants’ attitudes meant that was not always possible.

“Our priority for sprinkler installations is our high-rise blocks. We would like to install them over our whole high-rise estate,” he said.

“However, not all tenants are in favour of sprinklers. So any such programme would be subject to successful consultation with residents.

“The delay to installing sprinklers at St James’s House and Essex Place is because we revised our original proposals in response to feedback we had from our residents.

“We work very closely with East Sussex Fire and Rescue on fire safety and keep our policies on sprinklers under permanent review.”

He said the city council would consider the National Fire Chiefs Council’s recommendations on sprinklers.

The Argus’s findings come months after inspectors exposed fire risks and falling concrete in numerous council housing blocks.

Building inspectors visited eight Brighton blocks, home to more than 500 people, from April 1.

Cracks large enough to be a passage for smoke in the event of fire were found in pipes in four blocks.

And the council was warned concrete was at risk of falling off St James’s House.