Leeds & West Yorkshire

Cladding warning for 13 West Yorkshire apartment blocks

Skyline Apartments
Image caption Skyline Apartments is among the properties whose residents have been sent letters about fire safety

People living in 13 West Yorkshire apartment blocks have been warned they might be forced to leave unless "flammable" cladding is removed.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) asked owners of developments in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield about fire safety plans.

It said the cladding should be removed to prevent the risk of fire.

The letter was prompted by the Grenfell Tower inquiry and the fire at The Cube in Bolton last month.

Deputy chief fire officer Dave Walton wrote: "The risk posed to life at this and other recent incidents leads us to believe that it is now time to ask your building owner about their plans to remove the cladding on your building"

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption After the fire at The Cube, the National Unions of Students urged the government to audit all cladding that could pose a safety risk

WYFRS said that, following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 in which 72 people died, it had identified a number of buildings with "ongoing issues related to flammable cladding and/or insulation".

"Interim measures" had been introduced to address fire safety concerns at a number of apartment blocks, according to WYFRS.

The service said the report from the first phase of the Grenfell inquiry made it "clear that the fire risk presented by flammable cladding can only be removed if the cladding itself is completely removed".

The fire service has written to the owners of Skyline, Quay One, 20:20 House, McClure House, McClintock House, Crozier House, One Brewery Wharf, Aruba, Montague and the St Georges Building in Leeds as well as City Exchange and Landmark House in Bradford and the Castings in Huddersfield.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption It took minutes for the fire to race up the exterior of Grenfell Tower and spread to all four sides

The fire service has given the owners of the buildings until 10 January to respond with residents told that no action will take place over the Christmas period.

WYFRS said it hoped it would not be necessary to remove residents and "a swift resolution" could be agreed.

Residents were reassured that plans were in place in the "unlikely event of a fire" at one of the apartments concerned.

Welbeck Land, who developed the Skyline, said following the events at Grenfell tests on Skyline revealed the building was clad in a form of aluminium composite (ACM) which can no longer be used.

A spokesperson added: "In light of these findings, Canisp Ltd - who own the long-leasehold interest in the building - undertook to meet the costs of the remedial works although there was no legal obligation to do so.

"A contractor has been appointed to carry out the works which will start early next year. The works have not yet commenced as the contractor is completing the scaffold design works."

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Media captionSpeaking in 2018, Nick Dugdale revealed the stress of living with dangerous cladding

The government has committed to removing ACM from privately owned blocks at a cost of £200m.

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