Many council tower block residents in Wandsworth are objecting to having sprinklers installed in their homes when they do not want them.

Petitions from at least 18 of the borough’s 100 blocks where the council holds the freehold have been received by the authority – all opposing fitting the sprinklers “without meaningful consultation”.

Councillors Paul White and Malcolm Grimston (respectively Labour and independent) will present their “proposal for an evidence-based approach to fire safety” to the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, September 13, calling for a “genuine and binding” consultation on the decision for each block in the borough.

Their report lists a variety of residents’ complaints, including: fires in high-rise blocks almost always spread because of cladding tiles, so blocks without cladding should be exempt; and the cost, which would be an estimated £24 million to tenants (through the Housing Revenue Account[HRA]), and would cost leaseholders directly an unknown amount.

The report also suggests council estate residents think they are “regarded as being incapable of taking decisions like this for themselves when the council would not treat people in private houses or properties this way, even if they had the powers to do so.”

Wandsworth Council announced the plan to fit sprinklers in all of its blocks of 10 storeys or more shortly after the tragedy of Grenfell Tower in June 2017.

Leader Councillor Ravi Govindia said at the time: “Although we do not believe there is a specific risk to any of our high rise properties, we are simply not prepared to take a chance.”

He committed to the work being started “as quickly as possible”.

Later this month, there will be a preliminary tribunal hearing on the legality of charging leaseholders for sprinklers.

The report accuses the authority of putting residents at an “unfair disadvantage”, and creating “the impression of a council that will take any steps to get its own way” by having access to residents’ money (in the HRA) to fight against the residents themselves.

Cllrs White and Grimston recommend some of this money should be made available to residents to pay for legal advice and representation.