Cladding removed from New Cross tower blocks after failing fire safety tests

Cladding being removed on Hatfield Close pic: Phoebe Gardner

Potentially dangerous cladding is being removed from three residential tower blocks in New Cross after failing fire safety tests in the summer.  

Lewisham Council and Lewisham Homes have ordered the removal of cladding from two buildings at Hatfield Close, and Gerrard House in New Cross following advice from the London Fire Brigade.  

A local New Cross resident told Eastlondonlines: “It needs to go down, it’s good the council are doing this because we don’t want a repeat of what happened at Grenfell.  

They’re all really nice flats in those buildings (Hatfield Close), I used to live there many years ago.” 

Since the Grenfell Tower fire, every Lewisham Home building has been risk assessed by a specialist contractor and as an extra precaution fire-safety inspections have been carried out.  

The removal of the cladding started on October 4. The buildings had failed fire safety tests over the summer.  

The two Hatfield Close building’s have 96 flats in total, with the majority of the three towers being social housing.   

Lewisham Homes have introduced a 24-hour fire patrol service in the buildings after the safety test results were published. 

Sir Steve Bullock, mayor of Lewisham, said in a press release: “I am delighted Lewisham Homes have started the removal of the external cladding from Hatfield Close and Gerrard House. This important work will be done quickly and with the minimum of inconvenience to residents.” 

Gerrard House pic: Phoebe Gardner

The three buildings are still safe to live in while the cladding is being removed, on the advice of London Fire Brigade and Lewisham Homes there is no need to evacuate any of the buildings.  

Lewisham Homes will also offer financial assistance to any residents who have higher energy bills due to the cladding being removed.  

Since Grenfell Tower fire, more than 100 buildings’ cladding systems has failed government combustibility tests, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has said.  

Four buildings at the Woodberry Down Estate, Hackney had similar cladding removed in June.

Val Jarman, Vice-Chair of the Hatfield Tenant and Residents Association said in a press release: “I feel a lot safer now I know the cladding is coming off. It’s been up for 17 years and we thought it was okay, but Lewisham Homes was on the ball straight after what happened at Grenfell. They have kept residents in the loop and let us know everything they are doing to make sure we are safe.” 

On June 14, Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey building in North Kensington caught fire, completely destroying the building and causing many deaths. The tower had recently had an £8.6m refurbishment, including a new exterior cladding. The cladding has been heavily scrutinized for the cause of the fire spreading so quickly, it had a metal outer coating and an expanded foam interior. This polyethylene – or plastic – core is less fire proof than other alternatives. 

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