Two Portsmouth tower blocks have cladding removed

Cladding is being removed from two city council-owned tower blocks as a precautionary measure.

Following independent testing, cladding on Horatia House and Leamington House in Somerstown is being removed to ensure the highest safety standards are in place.

No other blocks are affected.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: "The safety of our residents is an absolute priority.

"Like all councils, we have been working with the government and fire service to review our buildings. As a precaution we submitted some cladding for testing and the results that came back said the cladding on Horatia House and Leamington House was a risk.

"As a result we are removing the cladding from those buildings. Protection of Portsmouth's residents is our number one priority and we will not comprise on safety standards.

"We will be removing the cladding as quickly as we can, in the meantime we would like to reassure residents that we have conducted a full assessment of the buildings, with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, and the buildings are safe to stay in with all of the existing safety measures still in place.

"Portsmouth City Council tower blocks have had occasional instances of fires within flats over the past few years, in every instance the fire has been contained within the property where the fire commenced, as the building is designed to do. All other neighbouring residents have not been impacted while the fire service fights the fire."

As an extra precaution, staff will be present in the two buildings 24 hours a day for as long as necessary.

Residents of Horatia House and Leamington House have had letters delivered to them explaining the precautions being taken and housing staff have been knocking on doors and speaking to people.

Anyone with concerns about the situation can call the helpline on 023 9282 4244, or visit the community information point at Somerstown Hub, where the area housing office will be open until 8pm on Friday 23 June, and 8am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday (24 and 25 June, returning to normal opening hours next week (8:30am-5pm Monday-Thursday and 8:30am-4:30pm on Fridays).

The council is also holding a special fire safety information event on Tuesday 27 June at the New Theatre Royal on Guildhall Walk, from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Residents will be able to hear from the council and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and discuss any concerns.

Additional information for local authority tenants is available on this page.

See Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service's High-Rise Living booklet