60 high rise buildings in 25 local authorities fail cladding tests after Grenfell disaster

The investigations at Grenfell Tower continue
The investigations at Grenfell Tower continue
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SOME 60 high-rise buildings in 25 local authorities across the country have now failed fire cladding safety tests after the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Government has said.

The number rose from 34 tower blocks across 17 local authorities.

The announcement came after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid revealed all of the buildings that have so far submitted cladding samples have failed combustibility tests.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said Doncaster, Norwich, Stockton-on-Tees and Sunderland all had buildings that failed tests, while Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth have already been named.

Doncaster Council has said work will start today on removing window capping on a high rise block in the borough following detailed assessments in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Decorative capping, which is found only on the external stairwell windows on Silverwood House in Balby Bridge is being removed as a precautionary measure, the authority has said. Jo Miller, chief executive at Doncaster Council, said: “Although we have not been advised that this decorative capping detail should be removed, we have decided to remove it as a precautionary measure to reflect that the health and safety of residents is our main priority.”

The Leader of Camden Council has said some 200 residents are refusing to leave four tower blocks evacuated over fire safety concerns in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Georgia Gould said she will knock on doors herself to persuade people still occupying 120 households in the Chalcots Estate in north London to vacate their homes.

She took the decision to clear 600 flats on Friday night after London Fire Brigade inspecting officers identified concerns over the combination of external cladding, fire doors, gas pipes and insulation.

Around 60 people stayed in nearby Swiss Cottage leisure centre on Saturday night, as 3,000 displaced residents faced weeks in temporary accommodation.

But despite being urged to leave by officials, around 200 people in 120 households had refused to vacate their homes, in Taplow, Burnham, Bray and Dorney blocks, by Sunday afternoon.

Ms Gould explained some residents have issues, including agoraphobia, and want to be sure they have got suitable accommodation before moving out of their flats.

“I’m going myself back to the blocks to knock on doors and have those conversations,” she told BBC News, adding: “The last thing I want to do is force people out of their homes, and the conversations I have been having with residents in these buildings is that they are happy to work with us.”

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid urged local authorities and housing associations to continue to submit samples “as a matter of urgency” amid a nationwide safety operation launched after at least 79 people died when fire ripped through Grenfell Tower in north Kensington on June 14.

Refurbishment of the Chalcots Estate was overseen by Rydon, the company involved in the refit of Grenfell Tower, according to the Rydon website. The site said the Chalcots project was a £66m refurbishment which lasted 191 weeks.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has backed the council’s decision to evacuate the tower blocks. He told Sky News: “I think they’ve done the right thing. Look, you’ve got to err on the side of caution. You can’t play Russian roulette with people’s safety. The council said it could take two to four weeks for the four blocks to be made safe.