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Cladding on school building to be removed as probe continues into its installation

The work is expected to start next year

21 September, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

The building on Hungerford Road

FLAMMABLE cladding on a special needs school and residential building in Lower Holloway will be removed next year, as the Town Hall continues to investigate how it came to be applied.

The Bridge Primary School, in Hungerford Road, is housed in the ground and first floor of a block of flats managed by Guinness Partnership housing association.

Most of the school is in part of the building made from brick, but flats above are clad in aluminium composite material (ACM).

It is a type different to that at used on Grenfell Tower but it failed government-backed tests in summer last year after the fire that claimed 72 lives.

London Fire Brigade’s fire safety assessments confirmed the building is safe with the mitigation measures that are in place.

Ken Muller, Islington National Education Union spokesman, said they had been reassured by the authorities that there was no additional risk.

He added: “All the same, we are pleased that the council is getting them [the panels] removed.”

How the cladding came to be on the building and whether it met fire safety regulations at the time is being investigated by the council, which is the freeholder and appointed a developer to build the block in 2006.

It said the original work was signed off by an independent approved inspector, not an officer from the council’s building control team, as meeting the relevant building regulations at the time.

Nationwide, questions are being asked of how flammable cladding had been installed on high-rise flats and a review into building regulation found they needed a “radical rethink”.

Work is expected to begin in 2019 and a pre-tender approval was submitted this month.

Due to the building’s design, the cladding is integral to the building so needs to be replaced at the same time as removal.

The council has been sourcing suitable replacement cladding and a specialist contractors during the last year.

The council is applying for funding from the government to cover the costs, estimated to cost £3 million.

In Finsbury, the Guinness Partnership has submitted a planning application to remove cladding from a block of flats on Percival Street.

A spokeswoman for The Guinness Partnership said: “The safety of our residents is always our primary concern and the mitigating safety measures we have put in place will remain until the cladding is removed.

“The council is working on the removal of the cladding; we are working closely with the council and our residents to ensure disruption is minimised.”

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