TOWER block residents across Oxford were today given assurances they are not sitting on a ‘time bomb’ after the horrific fire in West London.

Concerns were raised about cladding and insulation being installed at Evenlode, Windrush, Hockmore, Foresters and Plowman Towers, as well as fire alarms and sprinkler systems, as part of Oxford City Council’s ongoing £20m refurbishment project.

City council chiefs have moved to reassure residents that the building materials it is using are different to those used at Grenfell Tower, after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said hundreds of thousands living in tower blocks in the UK would be ‘frightened, traumatised and very, very worried’ following the disaster.

But many residents remain worried about the systems in place should a fire break out, despite the council saying different materials are used.

Stephen Clarke, Oxford City Council’s head of housing and property services, yesterday confirmed that the cladding and insulation being used in Oxford was of a different type and specification to those used at Grenfell Tower.

He said: “The cladding system in Evenlode, Windrush and Hockmore towers is Vitrobond, an aluminium composite, while Foresters and Plowman will use the Euroclad Opus aluminium system, which is a folded only aluminium panel. The insulation behind the cladding on all the towers will be Rockwool Duo slab.

“We’d like to reassure our tower block residents once again that we have gone above and beyond legal requirements to introduce more and better fire safety measures into our five tower blocks as part of our £20 million improvements.

"These include sprinkler systems, new fire doors, and fire breaks between floors in our fire-resistant cladding."

Rockwool Duo slab is a fire-resistant type of insulation chosen by Fortem and Oxford City Council because their professional advisors said it was fit for purpose.

Mr Clarke added: “We have installed horizontal fire breaks at each floor level within the external insulation to the first three blocks and are continuing with installation to the remaining ones. This will expand on the detection of flame and fill the 50mm void between the cladding and the insulation.”

But Darren Hazell, chairman of the Oxford Tower Leaseholders’ Association, said there was a ‘big question mark’ over whether materials being used in Oxford were safe given Grenfell had only been refurbished last year with materials presumably deemed safe.

In recent months the group has worked with a surveyor and fire safety officer to prepare for an upcoming tribunal over bills of up to £60,000 being charged for the work.

Mr Hazell, a letting agent who rents out a flat at Windrush in Blackbird Leys, said: “Our concern now as a body is what Oxford City Council is installing on our blocks.

“The materials may be up to current standard, but are they along the same lines as the disastrous fire in London? We could be putting fatal materials on a building.”

Yesterday the council sent a letter to residents in the towers’ 348 flats detailing fire safety measures being introduced, including sprinklers, dry risers and fire doors.

It noted that the external cladding fitted to the blocks was fire retardant, with ‘fire breaks’ between each floor, but did not mention the insulation beneath.

Mr Hazell said: “The fire took hold so quickly. It gives our work an increased sense of urgency. This is a massively serious issue now.

“What are the guarantees that these external panels are fireproof? Are we sitting on a time bomb? Once they go, I don’t care how good the sprinkler system is.”

Plowman Tower resident Stefan Piechnik, who has extensively researched the new design, said: "The chimney effect that the tower in London suffered would be exactly the same here.”

He said the presence of sprinklers inside the building was of little comfort, adding: “With building fires, temperatures can reach 1,000°C.

“You basically get cooked in hot water. We’ve also got a large amount of timber above windows. From my perspective I pay to have a stake on which I am burnt.”

The devastating blaze at Grenfell Tower saw the 24-storey building, which underwent an £8.4m refurbishment last year, burn for almost a full day.

Concerns have been raised about the building’s cladding, with local activist Piers Thompson saying the entire fascia ‘went up like it was paper and tinder and balsa wood’.

Yesterday Theresa May ordered a full public inquiry into the ‘terrible tragedy’ at Grenfell Tower on Wednesday that has claimed at least 17 lives since fire broke out on Tuesday night.

It followed demands by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who said the ‘full scale’ of the tragedy was becoming clear and there were ‘pressing questions’ to answer.

He added “In light of concerns about the safety of other tower blocks, the inquiry needs to produce an interim report by the end of this summer.”