Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth tower blocks cladding removal date set

Horatia House
Image caption Work is already under way to remove the cladding from Horatia House

Hazardous cladding on two tower blocks will not be completely removed until next year, a council has said.

Portsmouth's Horatia House and Leamington House have aluminium composite cladding which was identified as a fire risk in tests after the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Residents have already complained about the length of time the work is taking.

The city council said work to remove the cladding would be completed by February.

Aluminium cladding is believed to have contributed to the spread of the blaze at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, west London, on 14 June, which killed up to 80 people.

Image caption Horatia House resident Michelle Bates previously said people living at the towers should be the priority

Portsmouth City Council said work to remove the panels at Horatia House and Leamington House began in June.

It has blamed delays on preparation work, including booking scaffolding and ground surveys.

The 600 residents at the tower blocks are currently protected by 24-hour fire marshals.

Council leader Donna Jones previously said the tower's inhabitants were "extremely safe".

Work to remove and replace cladding from the 18-storey block, is expected to cost £10.9m.

The council said it wrote to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid in August to request "urgent consideration" for funding.

It said it sent further information to the Department for Communities and Local Government last month.

Discussions between the two were "ongoing", it added.

The council's cabinet will discuss the work at a meeting on 10 October.

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