Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Cladding removed from two Portsmouth tower blocks

Work on Horatia House
Image caption Work has begun to remove the aluminium composite material cladding

Cladding is being removed from two residential tower blocks in Portsmouth after tests found it to be a fire risk.

Portsmouth City Council said it was detaching the panels on Horatia House and Leamington House as a "precautionary measure".

The authority insisted the blocks were still safe for residents to stay in.

The move comes as it emerged about 600 high-rise towers across England had used similar cladding to that on Grenfell Tower in London.

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Cladding is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of fire at Grenfell Tower, in which at least 79 people are believed to have died.

Portsmouth City Council said cladding from all its tower blocks was independently tested and the material on the 18-storey Horatia House and Leamington House came back as "a fire risk".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The 18-storey Horatia House was built in the 1960s

No other tower block in the city required action to be taken, it said.

Work is already under way to remove the cladding which the council confirmed was made of aluminium composite material. The council has posted staff around the clock in each of the 1960s-built buildings to provide "support and advice" while the work was done.

Deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council Luke Stubbs said people's safety was its priority.

"We will be removing the cladding as quickly as we can, in the meantime we would like to reassure residents we have conducted a full assessment of the buildings, with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, and the buildings are safe to stay in with all of the existing safety measures still in place," he added.

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