Cladding concern as three more blocks of flats in Portsmouth fail fire safety tests

Southdowns View in Hilsea
  • Flats in Cosham and Hilsea are the latest to not meet safety standards
  • It comes after an investigation by the properties’ owners, Vivid Homes
  • The firm has pledged to replace cladding and has implemented new safety protocols

RESIDENTS have told of their shock after cladding on three new blocks of flats failed stringent fire safety tests.

Properties in Cosham and Hilsea are among the latest in the city to have been affected by defective covering.

Ockendon House, Cosham

An examination of samples from Harding House and Ockendon House, in High Street, Cosham, and Southdown View, in Military Road, Hilsea, revealed the buildings’ cladding was a fire risk.

The cladding was sent for testing by Vivid Homes, which owns all three buildings. Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have jointly inspected the buildings with Vivid to make sure they are safe for people to reside in.

It comes after the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London, which claimed the lives of at least 80 people last month.

A spokeswoman for the housing firm said that despite the cladding failing tests, the buildings’ other existing safety measures meant they were still ‘safe for residents to stay in’ and that all three sites ‘met building regulations’.

Harding House, Cosham

However, residents living in Southdown View have expressed their concerns over the safety of their homes.

One 55-year-old woman, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Things should have been done properly in the first place.

‘These problems should have been picked up earlier. Why have we got to wait for people to die in the Grenfell fire before they investigate things?’

Another 28-year-old resident added: ‘Frankly, the whole situation stinks. For a new-build property, I would have expected the quality to be better – or at least safe. It’s disgusting.’

Vivid said new safety measures have been implemented since its ‘re-review’ of the properties, which includes 24/7 safety patrols in the buildings to ensure fire exits and communal areas are free of obstacles and fire hazards.

Residents are also being offered free safety tests of electrical appliances and a dedicated phone and email service has been set up for those still concerned.

A spokeswoman added: ‘The safety of residents in all our homes remains our top priority, and we have written and are in the process of speaking to everyone in these properties to explain our course of action and to answer any concerns.

‘We’ll be removing the cladding at both these sites and Ockendon House as the cladding samples didn’t pass the Building Research Establishment test.

‘Cladding will be removed in a managed way once we have been able to find a cladding solution and resource specialist contractors.’

The city council has written to all private landlords reminding them of the responsibility to keep their buildings safe.

A spokesman said: ‘Should concerns be identified relating to any building the owners will be responsible for addressing these but the council will liaise with the owners and the fire service to offer appropriate support.’

As previously reported, aluminium composite cladding on Horatia House and Leamington House, in Somers Town, was identified as ‘high risk’. Work has already started on removing this.

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