Salford council agrees to borrow up to £25m for cladding

Workers remove cladding for testing from one of the tower blocks in Salford Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Workers remove cladding for testing from a Salford tower block

A council in the city with the most tower blocks that failed cladding fire safety tests will borrow up to £25m for improvements.

Twenty-nine properties in Salford have cladding that failed checks after the Grenfell Tower fire in June.

The city's council will take out a loan to pay for fire safety improvements at nine tower blocks in Pendleton.

Mayor Paul Dennett said: "We are taking a lead in dealing with what is a national crisis."

Image caption More than 80 people died after a blaze destroyed flats at Grenfell Tower

The decision to borrow funds was approved by councillors at a special meeting on Wednesday.

At least 80 people died after fire engulfed Grenfell Tower in London on 14 June.

Subsequent tests found cladding on 120 high-rise buildings in 37 English local authority areas had failed fire safety tests.

Recent work on the Pendleton flats, completed earlier in 2017, was done under a private finance initiative (PFI) contract between the council and property management company Pendleton Together Operating.

The cladding improvements will be carried out despite its dispute with the council over who should pay.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Salford Council own nine tower blocks, which will be re-cladded

Mr Dennett said: "This will be a strain on our resources but it is important that we respond effectively to address safety issues raised by the Grenfell Tower tragedy and we must do all in our power to ensure that a fire such as this never happens again."

He added it was "not an easy time for local authorities - government cuts have taken a severe toll on council budgets".

"We have called on government... to financially support councils and housing associations so that they can respond swiftly to legitimate public concerns."

Nine blocks - Whitebeam Court, Malus Court, Beech Court, Salix Court, Spruce Court, Holm Court, Hornbeam Court, Thorn Court and Plane Court - will be refurbished.

Organisations including Salix Homes and City West Housing Trust, which are responsible for the other 20 affected blocks in Salford, said they will replace the cladding on the properties.

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