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Final Bristol tower block with Grenfell-like cladding to have it removed

Final Bristol tower bloc with Grenfell-like cladding to have it removed


Eclipse Tower, above Harvey Nichols in Cabot Circus, has the same combination of materials as the London building where an inferno killed 72 people in June 2017.

Residents have been told to keep electrical appliances off at night since the discovery 18 months ago. As of summer 2017, extra patrols and dedicated fire-watch CCTV cameras were put in place in the building.

The 14-storey luxury apartment block’s owners say it is considered “low risk” and that they have made a series of safety measures including a new fire alarm system.

In a separate development, Bristol City Council has revealed the “massive” scale of work required to carry out on its own domestic properties as a result of the disaster.

It includes making 60,000 visits every year to check fire doors at council flats, despite the fact none the 62 council-owned high-rises have the same coating as Grenfell Tower.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service says privately-owned Eclipse Tower in Penn Street is the last remaining building in its area that has the combination of a polyethylene core and combustible aluminium cladding. The material played a major part in the rapid spread of the Grenfell fire in West London in 2017, which started when a fridge-freezer malfunctioned on the fourth floor.

An Avon Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson has confirmed that seven other buildings have been identified as having the same coating, of which five have now had it removed and two are only partially clad in small areas.

They include Waverley House student halls in Queen Charlotte Street whose owners Unite Students removed the cladding after failing government safety tests just a month after Grenfell

Avon Fire & Rescue Service technical fire safety station manager Karl Venn said: “We are continuing to work with local authorities, developers, management committees and tenants to help ensure that the fire safety arrangements in high-rise accommodation are safe and appropriate.”

Eclipse Tower, Bristol

Asset managers Hammerson said in a statement on behalf of the Eclipse block’s owners Bristol Alliance: “We now have planning consent for the cladding replacement works and intend to start on site in the second quarter of 2020.

“We have also implemented a series of additional risk management measures and as a result of these initiatives we can confirm that the building continues to be considered low risk by the relevant authorities.”

Meanwhile, Bristol City Council’s head of planned maintenance programmes Gillian Durden said the local authority’s buildings were “very safe” and that none of its 62 tower blocks had the same cladding as Grenfell. She said the “concrete box” structure of its high-rises also meant fire did not spread from flats.

“The important message we have given out is none of our high-rises have the same form of cladding as Grenfell Tower.

Gillian Durden, Bristol City Council

But speaking at a recent meeting of the council’s housing management board (Tuesday, January 7), Durden said the organisation was required to carry out a huge amount of work from the recommendations of phase one of the Grenfell inquiry, published in October 2019.

She said: “The important message we have given out is none of our high-rises have the same form of cladding as Grenfell Tower.

“Nevertheless we have been doing a lot of checking in our blocks to ensure this material is as it should be, has been installed properly and has the necessary fire breaks.

“We have experienced fires in our flats, some of them really quite severe, and in all cases they have not spread from the flat.

“What we are managing here is ensuring our blocks absolutely are safe but also that people feel safe and are assured, so we have this balance of not worrying people too much as well as doing what we need to do.

“There is a lot of fear generated by Grenfell in particular parts of the city, so we need to help people understand that we’ve got this.”


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