Work to remove Grenfell-style cladding from three Portsmouth blocks of flats to begin

WORK to remove Grenfell-style cladding from three blocks of flats in Portsmouth will begin this month after a solution took 'longer than expected' to find.

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 6:05 am
Southdown View in Hilsea. Picture Ian Hargreaves  (180923-1_flats)
Southdown View in Hilsea. Picture Ian Hargreaves (180923-1_flats)

Affordable home provider Vivid revealed today it had finally secured a contractor to replace the potentially dangerous cladding from Southdown View in Hilsea and Ockendon House and Harding House in Cosham.

Fears were first raised over the safety of the homes in 2017 when they failed cladding tests, however, Vivid said other measures meant the properties were 'safe for residents to stay in.'

Now contractors United Living will begin to remove the aluminium composite material (ACM) from the buildings as part of a project that is expected to take up to 12 months.

Ockendon House in Cosham failed its cladding test in 2017

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Julian Chun, director of property at Vivid, said: 'Over the last two years we’ve worked hard to find the best possible solution to replace the ACM cladding on these three buildings and we’re pleased the work will start next month.

'We’re keen to replace the cladding to make our homes safe as possible in the event of a fire.

'Finding the right solution and contractors has taken longer than we had hoped but we wanted to ensure the buildings have the highest available level of fire security, above and beyond current mandatory requirements.'

Under government guidelines the three buildings are not required to have new cladding because they are under 18 metres in height.

However, Portsmouth City Council's housing boss Councillor Darren Sanders, said: 'With the Grenfell inquiry going on we believe the rules will continue to change.

'It is really up to Vivid when they decide to carry out this work.'

Portsmouth council removed all cladding from Leamington and Horatia House in Somers Town in 2017.

Cllr Sanders added: 'I'm delighted that Vivid is taking this action. We know from de-cladding our own tower blocks how important it is to put residents' safety before money.

'The important thing is it is going to be done.'

All costs associated with replacing the cladding will be funded by Vivid.

A total of 117 residents live in Southdown View, 43 live in Ockendon House and 40 live in Harding House.