HUNDREDS of high-risk homes across Barnsley will be safer from fire for decades to come thanks to a seven-figure sum spent on installing ‘life-saving’ sprinklers at council-owned housing complexes.

Funding secured for social housing developments has allowed properties to be protected, with others to follow throughout 2020, according to a South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue report.

A total of 141 homes on Hudson Haven, Church Street Close, King Street, Pendon House, Saville Court and Shipcroft have received retrofitted automatic fire sprinklers in flats which mostly house older people.

The venues are located in the town centre, Penistone, Wombwell, Thurnscoe and Hoyland.

The work cost more than £240,000 but a further 311 homes - at Albion House, Buckley House, Britannia Houses, Willowcroft, Heather Court, Glebe Court and Woodall - will also receive work this year.

A report, discussed by the South Yorkshire Fire Authority at Barnsley Town Hall on Monday, said: “We are committed to protecting vulnerable members of the community and have set aside £1m to help towards the costs of installing fire suppression systems in buildings housing high-risk residents.

“Sprinkler systems, once installed, have a very long and useful life and will continue to protect residents as long as the building is habitable.”( Fire sprinklers in residential buildings remain high on fire bosses’ agendas with the second phase of the Grenfell Tower inquiry now underway and a review of building fire safety regulations ongoing.

The government announced it was considering lowering the threshold from 30 metres to 11 metres tall for fire sprinklers to be installed in new high-rise buildings.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Helps added: “Fire sprinkler systems can have a life span of well over 50 years, meaning this money will help to keep thousands people safe in these buildings for decades to come.

“Importantly we’ve targeted our funding at properties where people are at a greater risk of fire for a range of factors including age, disability, mental health or substance misuse issues.

“Some of the schemes we’re most proud to have supported are actually among the smallest, with relatively small amounts of money helping to protect small numbers of very vulnerable people in premises owned by charities and other organisations which wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford to pay for projects of this nature on their own.

“Fire sprinklers are a cost-effective way of making businesses and residential dwellings safer as they stop fires from spreading, put them out quickly and save lives.

“We’re proud of the reputation we’ve built nationally as a long-standing advocacy of the benefits of fire sprinklers. The projects we’ve funded are just another example of our work in this area.”