All Cladding Samples Fail Safety Checks

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THE CLADDING samples from each and every one of the 34 tower blocks in 17 council areas in England tested up until yesterday have failed fire safety tests.

The government has said it is to examine cladding from 600 blocks in the UK and every single sample submitted so far has failed the tests. The Department for Communities and Local Government’s testing programme, began last Wednesday and is able to test 100 samples a day.

Some of the 17 local authorities whose high-rise buildings have failed the fire safety tests so far have been named.

They are:

• Camden – where residents have been evacuated from four blocks on the Chalcots Estate.

• Brent – where a housing association tower block, Elizabeth House, has cladding.

• Barnet – where cladding put up on three towers in Granville Road, NW2, in 2012 is to be removed.

• Hounslow – where Clements Court tower in Cranford is to have outer cladding removed.

• Manchester – where 78 panels are being removed from one area of the Village 135 development in Wythenshawe.

• Salford – where cladding is to be removed from nine tower blocks.

• Plymouth – where three blocks on the Mount Wise Tower estate were found to have cladding made from similar material to Grenfell Tower.

• Portsmouth – where the city council is removing cladding from Horatia House and Leamington House in Somerstown.

The Chalcots Estate’s cladding is similar to Grenfell Tower in North Kensington. Chalcots was refurbished between 2006 and 2009 by the same firm, Rydon, that oversaw work at Grenfell Tower in 2015-16. Camden Council tenants who refuse to leave their homes while the cladding is being taken down are being threatened with being forcibly removed.

The leader of Camden Council, Georgia Gould, said staff will conduct further door knocking asking anyone remaining to leave ‘and issue another letter reiterating to residents who are still remaining in the Taplow, Bray, Dorney and Burnham blocks, that they must leave’.

She went on: ‘By remaining in the blocks these residents risk delaying the work that is required and that we are undertaking to make these homes safe. It is not safe to remain in these blocks and our residents’ safety will continue to be the council’s number one priority.’

Four of the five blocks on the Chalcots Estate were evacuated last Friday due to concerns about external cladding, gas pipe insulation, and fire doors. Camden Council said it had no option but to move residents from 650 flats while work takes place. The work at Chalcots is expected to take three to four weeks.

Sayed Mead, a resident on the estate who left his flat, said not knowing where he was going to be housed had been ‘eating me away’ and the council has created ‘panic’ among the residents. Meanwhile, survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have been evicted from their emergency hotel accommodation.

A letter from Kensington and Chelsea Council to the families said people needed to urgently leave their rooms by 4pm last Friday. Despite efforts to extend your stay at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, regrettably the hotel has stated that they do not have availability,’ the council wrote.