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26 June 2017, 10:29
Portsmouth City Council says it is removing cladding from two high-rise buildings 'as a precautionary measure'.
Following independent testing, cladding on Horatia House and Leamington House in Somerstown is being removed to ensure the highest safety standards are in place. The tests show the cladding was a fire risk.
No other blocks are affected.
Cllr Luke Stubbs, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said:
"The safety of our residents is an absolute priority.
"Like all councils, we have been working with the government and fire service to review our buildings. As a precaution we submitted some cladding for testing and the results that came back said the cladding on Horatia House and Leamington House was a fire risk.
"As a result we are removing the cladding from those buildings. Protection of Portsmouth's residents is our number one priority and we will not comprise on safety standards.
"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 & Rescue Service, and the buildings are safe to stay in with all of the existing safety measures still in place.
"The buildings have been designed and built with fire safety in mind providing fire separation and containment with protected fire escape routes.
"Portsmouth City Council tower blocks have had occasional instances of fires within flats over the past few years, in every instance the fire has been contained within the property where the fire commenced, as the building is designed to do, all other neighbouring residents have not been impacted while the fire service fights the fire."
As an extra precaution council staff will be present in the two buildings 24 hours a day, for as long as necessary.
Letters are being delivered to residents of Horatia House and Leamington House explaining the precautions being taken.
Anyone with concerns about the situation can call 023 9282 4244 or visit the Somerstown Hub community information point where the local area housing office will be open until 8pm this evening [23 June], and 8am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday [24 and 25 June], returning to normal opening hours next week of 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm Friday.
The council is also holding a special fire safety information event on Tuesday 27 June at the New Theatre Royal on Guildhall Walk. From 6.30pm to 7.30pm residents will be able to hear from the council and Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service and discuss any concerns.