‘Still no promises’ on future of plastic-wrapped Gosport tower blocks

Families left living in darkness in five Gosport tower blocks met with housing group Hyde on Thursday, May 9 at St Mary's Church Hall in Gosport to air their grievances. Picture: Sarah Standing (090519-8798)
Families left living in darkness in five Gosport tower blocks met with housing group Hyde on Thursday, May 9 at St Mary's Church Hall in Gosport to air their grievances. Picture: Sarah Standing (090519-8798)
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PLASTIC sheeting that has obscured the views from five tower blocks could be up until the end of the year, according to a housing association.

Plastic sheeting went around five tower blocks in Gosport – Harbour, Seaward, Hammond, Blake and Garland – last year, with all work initially expected to be completed by this month.

Work started on the tower blocks last year. Picture: David George

Work started on the tower blocks last year. Picture: David George

However, housing association Hyde Group has told The News that it hopes work will be completed by the end of the year, but this is subject to the specialist labour being available.

It comes after a meeting between residents and Hyde Group on Thursday, where those living in the towers were informed of the news.

The work is to remove cladding around the buildings after the Grenfell Tower fire in London, where 72 people died.

Residents say they are disappointed with the meeting’s outcome, as they haven’t been given a specific date for when they can expect work to be completed.

Delia Prior, 56, has lived in Harbour Tower for four years.

She says that Hyde – and contractor Axis – should have focused on one tower at a time, and feels let down by the housing association.

‘The meeting was like a comedy show,’ she said.

‘Both Hyde and Axis avoided answering people’s questions – the building work is way behind schedule.

‘We were told the scaffolding might come down in October, but that won’t even be the end of the work.

‘Considering it was meant to be completely done by May, I think it’s completely unacceptable.’

Vice-chair of the Five Towers Residents Association, Peter Hudson, says that the association will be demanding more concrete answers moving forward.

He said: ‘Emotions were running high at the meeting – residents feel that they have been poorly informed and badly let down, and I totally concur with that.

‘It’s put a real mental strain on residents; it’s alarming to hear how they’re feeling and goes to show that it’s not just about the work itself.

‘We don’t want to be told that they’re “looking into it” – we want to see proactive action.’

A spokeswoman from Hyde said: ‘We apologise for the delay to the works.

‘The delay is for a number of reasons including an increase in demand for specialist cladding installers across the country, and unpredictable weather affecting our ability to complete works on time – the safety of our workers is always a priority.

‘Whilst some of the issues have been outside our control, we are doing everything we can to ensure that the works are completed as soon as possible.

‘We are meeting regularly with all parties involved to come up with solutions to address residents’ concerns, but we will not compromise our high standards as the safety of our residents is our utmost concern.’