UP TO 16 of Southampton’s tallest tower blocks are to undergo a multimillion-pound fire safety revamp.

Work on two blocks has already been completed and improvements to a third are due to be completed today.

The £15 million scheme includes the fitting of sprinklers in every flat, the upgrading and replacement of communal fire doors, front doors and fire stopping products.

The extent of the safety programme can be revealed today on the eve of the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

However, the Labour  city council has come in for criticism from independent members who claim the work should have been done sooner.

Upgrades at Albion Towers and Shirley Towers have been completed, with Sturminster Towers due to be finished today.

The work will incorporate all towers more than 30m in height – the government definition of a high-rise.

The city council could not confirm a completion date for the safety work work on the remaining 13 towers.

Housing chief councillor Warwick Payne said that four more medium-rise blocks could also be upgraded – if the funds can be found.

It comes eight years after the Shirley Towers fire which claimed the lives of two firefighters.

Southampton Independents leader Denise Wyatt and member Andrew Pope say it has come too late and should have been done years ago.

Ms Wyatt said: “We are over eight years on from Shirley Towers. Why has the council taken so long and why has the council had to employ a different company to do new fire risk assessments? They should have got it right first time.”

Cllr Pope added: “It has taken the council eight years to do this. That is far too long and should have happened sooner.”

But Cllr Payne says that plans have been in the works since the coroner’s extensive report on the Shirley Towers fire was published in 2013 – three years after the incident.

He added that planning permission was required, cash needed to be sourced, and other hoops needed to be “jumped through” before work could begin.

“Ensuring that our tenants are safe and secure is our top priority,” said Cllr Payne.

“All our tower blocks have up-to-date fire risk assessments and Southampton City Council has been working closely with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and our specialist installation contractors on a timetable for installing sprinkler systems and undertaking other fire safety works.”

“The timetable of work has been prioritised based on fire service advice, which took into account what buildings were more at risk.”

Cllr Payne also said that the city is one of the only authorities in the country retrofit sprinklers to its towers. which meant Hampshire fire officers had to be sent up to Sheffield before work could begin.

He added: “We are at the forefront of this... other councils are coming to us to see how we are doing it.”