New 24-hour security set up to protect residents of at-risk Portsmouth tower blocks

Leamington House in Portsmouth as hundreds of residents are told there is a structural weakness in the concrete. Picture: Malcolm Wells PPP-180506-101250001

Portsmouth tower block Q&A: What is wrong with Leamington House and Horatia House?

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson outside Horatia House in Portsmouth. Picture Malcolm Wells

Portsmouth tower block residents set to get £6,100 per household at cost of £1.6m to city council

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SECURITY is to be tightened at two tower blocks hit by safety fears in a bid to reassure residents.

Portsmouth City Council has revealed it will be posting 24-hour security guards at the entrances of both Horatia House and Leamington House, in Somers Town.

Council workers inside Horatia House today in Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Council workers inside Horatia House today in Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells

It comes after the authority told residents living in the high-rises they will need to leave their homes by 2019 to allow vital improvement to be carried out on the buildings’ weak concrete.

READ MORE: Hundreds of residents told they will have to leave Portsmouth tower blocks amid safety fears

A study has revealed the concrete would be unable to absorb a gas explosion in a flat, putting residents’ at risk.

James Hill, director of housing, neighbourhood and building services, said although there was no immediate danger to tenants, the new measure had to be put into place to prevent any future catastrophe.

James Hill, director for housing, neighbourhood and building services at Portsmouth City Council

James Hill, director for housing, neighbourhood and building services at Portsmouth City Council

It will see security guards on site to stopping people from bringing in any prohibited items that could explode, like gas canisters or gas heaters.

READ MORE: New 24-hour security installed to protect residents at at-risk tower

He said: ‘We will create a security concierge at the entrance to both blocks. They will be there 24 hours a day. That moves from a fire warden type situation that we had from last year to an actual security concierge.

‘We think we can manage that risk with our tenants’ co-operation while we take a measured approach to their rehousing.

Horatia House, in Somers Town, is the other building affected

Horatia House, in Somers Town, is the other building affected

‘This isn’t about causing panic, this is about us saying the residents’ safety is our top priority.’

Previously, the buildings had been monitored by a fire warden.

The latest move has been backed by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, which has been working with the council on the plans.

Stew Adamson, the fire service’s director of operations, said: ‘We have been supporting Portsmouth City Council in relation to fire safety in Horatia and Leamington House.

‘Our priority is always the safety and well-being of all residents in Hampshire.

‘It is vital residents follow fire safety precautions in their home and the specific advice given to them by their landlords.

‘Residents in blocks of flats should also be mindful of the impact their actions could have on fellow residents.’

For personalised safety advice, see hantsfire.gov.uk/safeandsound and complete an online home fire safety checker form.