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Cladding to be removed from Finsbury block after tests reveal similarities with Grenfell Tower

Town Hall said it will remove the cladding from the high rise Braithwaite House in Bunhill Row immediately.

23 June, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

CLADDING on the side of a Finsbury tower block will be removed urgently after tests revealed it contains a similar plastic material to that used at Grenfell Tower.

The Town Hall has announced it would remove the cladding from the high rise Braithwaite House in Bunhill Row immediately amid concerns it could be flammable.

Results of independent tests of the cladding received last night (Thursday) “confirmed the presence of aluminium composite material (ACM),” Islington Council said.

It follows a week of uncertainty in which residents have nervously waited for answers.

Islington’s housing chief Councillor Diarmaid Ward said: “As a landlord, safety is our number one priority and we will do whatever it takes to ensure people are safe in our estates.

“Last night we received results of tests on cladding on the side of Braithwaite House. We’re arranging to have the cladding, which is only on the sides of the building, removed as soon as we possibly can by a specialist contractor.

“We’re also stepping up safety measures in the block immediately, with fire safety patrols taking place day and night from today until the panels are removed.

“Our housing staff were at Braithwaite House last night to carry out fire checks and clear any obstructions in communal areas. We’re also taking advice from London Fire Brigade and will follow all their recommendations.

“We know this news will be distressing to residents. We have organised a drop-in session with residents today and also there will be an information point at St John’s Street Area Housing Office.”

At least 79 people were killed or are missing presumed dead after the blaze at Grenfell, a block in Kensington, last Wednesday.

Tower block residents across the borough have called on the Town Hall to install sprinkler systems in high-rise buildings following the deadly blaze.

Cladding used on eight Islington Council-owned tower blocks have been sent off for independent testing to see if it is fire-safe.

Islington Council has put on hold all planned work to install cladding at four tower blocks: Ilex House, Gambier House, Halliday House and Arlington House.

The Town Hall said it has spent £7m on its fire risk assessment programme and associated fire safety works since 2013. It said a further £38m of works are set to take place – though the council did not specify over what period this would be spent.

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