Wales politics

Grenfell-style cladding to be removed from Newport blocks

Milton Court is one of the three tower blocks affected Image copyright Google
Image caption Milton Court is one of the three tower blocks in Newport affected

Cladding on three Newport tower blocks which failed fire safety tests after the Grenfell tragedy is to be replaced with Welsh Government funding.

Milton Court, Hillview and Greenwood are the only social housing flats in Wales which have the type of aluminium composite material (ACM) deemed unsafe.

Housing Minister Rebecca Evans said £3m was being given to Newport City Homes.

She said the social landlord had acted quickly to safeguard residents, including having sprinklers fitted.

The announcement came in the week that a public inquiry began into the Grenfell Tower fire in west London last June, which led to the deaths of 72 people.

It is suspected that ACM panels on the outside of the block fuelled the spread of the fatal blaze, acting as kindling once the fire took hold.

Ms Evans said the Welsh Government had worked closely with councils, landlords, building owners and managers "to gather a full and accurate picture of high-rise residential buildings in Wales, and to ensure that owners and agents are aware of Government safety guidance and taking necessary action".

"Newport City Homes acted quickly to safeguard residents, putting in place a number of fire safety measures, including fitting sprinklers.

"Now it's our turn to support them with this investment, which will enable Newport City Homes to continue their commitment to resident safety, without compromising their vital plans to build more social housing in the city."

Milton Court in Ringland, Hillview in the Gaer and Greenwood in St Julian's were renovated in 2015 after being part of the £12.5m Welsh Housing Quality Standard investment programme.

Newport City Council - which transferred its council houses to Newport City Homes in 2009 and still works closely with the organisation - welcomed the Welsh Government's support.

Council leader Debbie Wilcox said: "We are very pleased that Welsh Government is supporting the proactive approach Newport City Homes has taken in relation to the safety and wellbeing of residents living in the city's tower blocks.

"Newport City Council and Newport City homes benefit from a positive partnership and we have worked closely with them since these issues came to light.

"We will continue to assist Newport City Homes throughout this process and support them in their improvement work across the city."

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