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Brentford tower block residents evacuated over safety fears

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image captionScaffolding has been erected after faulty cavity barriers were found

Hundreds of residents at a housing complex in west London are having to move out while fire safety and structural problems are investigated.

People living in the Paragon complex in Brentford are being evacuated after faulty cavity barriers, which prevent flames spreading, were found.

Every occupant of the 1,059 high-rise homes will be moved out this week.

Housing association Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) said it was "working to uncover the full extent of the issues".

One resident told the BBC it was "sickening" they had been allowed to move into an "unsafe building".

Laura Howes, 19, was placed in the building by the University of West London (UWL), where she is student.

Ms Howes said the university owed her "a massive apology".

"We should be getting the rent back for the months we've been staying in an unsound building," she said.

UWL said in a statement: "Alternative accommodation has been secured for all those affected.

"Extensive support plans are in place to facilitate the smoothest possible transition to the new accommodation."

image copyrightPARAGON
image captionMany residents at Paragon are students at the University of West London

Some residents are currently self-isolating with positive coronavirus cases, one resident told the BBC.

Sam Wilkins, 19, said covid-positive residents were about to be taken out of isolation and moved to different flats.

"It doesn't make much sense to me. It feels like NHG are panicking," he said.

NHG said all residents had found alternative accommodation, including in hotels, and it was providing financial support.

'Very distressing time'

Since the Grenfell Tower fire the building has had a "waking watch" to ensure residents are alerted in the event of a blaze.

But technical consultants have advised they could not guarantee the safety of residents and so an evacuation was required.

Kate Davies, NHG's group chief executive, said: "I understand that Paragon residents may feel angry or alarmed by this news, as they have every right to be.

"This is a very distressing time and we are genuinely sorry for the huge amount of disruption and uncertainty that this situation will cause.

"This is a complex situation and we don't yet have all the answers. We are working to uncover the full extent of the issues at Paragon so that we can provide residents with clarity about timescales, next steps and options as quickly as possible."

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