PEOPLE living in high rise apartments need not fear a repeat of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the council has claimed.

Following the horrific fire that gutted the North Kensington apartment block earlier this week, Swindon Borough Council has urged residents living in similar buildings not to panic.

After paying tribute to all those who had been affected by the tragedy, councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “I would like to reassure our tenants that we have robust fire safety arrangements in place for our high-rise properties, which include regularly updated fire risk assessments and monthly inspections of all our fire doors and dry risers to ensure they are in full working order.”

The death toll following the fire has reached 17, though that figure is expected to increase as the investigation continues.

It is thought that several hundred people, children included, would have been in the building when it went up in flames.

Coun Martyn said that the council tests the fire alarm systems of apartment blocks on a weekly basis and routinely monitors communal entrance doors and passenger lifts.

“The external façade of all our high-rise blocks is also made of non-combustible material,” she added.

Despite the harrowing images in the media, people who live in high-rise buildings have not felt much need to worry.

One 46-year-old woman, who has been resident of Swindon’s David John Murray Tower for the past couple of years, said: “I’m not scared. There’s no reason to be scared at all. These things happen and you never really know when. Crossing the road is more dangerous than living in a building like this.”

Coun Martyn said: “We have a close working relationship with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and have a clear evacuation strategy for our tenants. A letter is being sent out today to all residents in our high-rise blocks of flats to reassure them about the safety measures that we have in place and to remind them about their responsibilities.

“The Fire and Rescue Service offer free Safe & Well visits, and any tenants who would like one can contact them through their website or on 0800 038 2323.”

The Labour Party in January 2016 tabled an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill with the intention of forcing private landlords to make their homes “fit for human habitation”.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland was one of the 312 MPs who voted against the proposed amendment.

Explaining his reasons for doing so, Mr Buckland said: “The vote last January was on an amendment to the Housing Bill.

“The amendment did not add strength to existing laws protecting tenants’ rights and creating legal rights to take action against landlords for defective premises. This amendment was not necessary.”

People in Swindon looking to donate clothes and essentials to the victims can drop them off at the ATBShop Skate Warehouse in Newcombe Drive before 6pm on Saturday, June 17.