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Ipswich Council marks finish of £1.8m upgrade of Cumberland Towers

PUBLISHED: 11:20 20 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:20 20 March 2018

Cumberland Towers has had a £1.8m makeover. Picture; IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Cumberland Towers has had a £1.8m makeover. Picture; IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

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Ipswich Council has marked the completion of £1.8m of repairs to its only tower block with a party for residents hosted by deputy mayor Roger Fern.

Tenants and councillors joined deputy mayor Roger Fern at the reopening party following the refurbishment of Cumberland Towers. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILTenants and councillors joined deputy mayor Roger Fern at the reopening party following the refurbishment of Cumberland Towers. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

The work began last year, before the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London, but did not involve the type of cladding that has caused so much concern over recent months.

However the borough did spend a further £185,000 on top of its original budget on a new sprinkler system to further enhance fire protection systems.

Cumberland Towers now has a new heating system, energy-efficient windows and balcony screens along with external wall insulation, roof insulation and a new roof covering.

The external look of the housing, which is now run as sheltered homes for senior citizens, has also been given a makeover to make it a more attractive landmark for the town in Norwich Road.

Mr Fern went along tto thank tenants for their patience during the work that started last year. He was joined by Borough Councillors, staff and representatives of LawTech, the company that carried out the works.

Housing portfolio-holder Neil MacDonald said: “The aim has been to bring Cumberland Towers up to modern standards to provide fit for purpose sheltered accommodation for years to come.

“We want to provide residents with a safe, high quality home and I want to thank LawTech, Michael Dyson Associates, our own staff and the tenants themselves on completion of this major investment.”

The £1.8 million refurbishment was financed through rents and contributions towards the insulation work by energy companies.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy there were extra fire drills at Cumberland Towers – and in November firefighters were called out to deal with a real blaze in a sixth floor flat that was quickly brought under control.

Ipswich Council built Cumberland Towers in the early 1960s to deal with the need for new homes in the town – it was the only municipal tower block built in the town and has been a landmark for more than 50 years on Norwich Road.

By the late 1980s it had become a sheltered housing scheme because young families were keen to have somewhere with easy access to the outdoors to allow children to play.

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