Charlton Triangle Housing has told residents the cladding used on its blocks is safe and will not easily catch fire, following the the disaster at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington.
On Friday, police confirmed at least 30 people had died in the west London fire, with the final figure feared to be many more. Media speculation has centred on the cladding recently fitted to the 24-storey tower, which was enveloped by flames within minutes in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The block’s managers have been accused of ignoring safety fears raised by residents.
Most of the blocks run by Charlton Triangle, including those on the Springfield Grove and Cherry Orchard estates, were reclad in 2012 as part of an energy efficiency programme. The housing association, which also operates the Harold Gibbons Court, Mascalls Court and Valley Grove blocks, says its homes are not at risk.
A statement issued to residents reads: “There has been a lot of speculation and coverage in the press about the impact of external cladding in spreading the fire at Grenfell Tower.
“Whilst it is still far too early to determine the cause of the fire, this has caused concern amongst our residents given that all of our older blocks, with the exception of Valiant House, were overclad in 2012.
“Our external cladding is a mineral based system. It has a fire standard rating that means the materials used will prevent the spread of fire. The mineral insulation itself is non – combustible.”
Valiant House – a 16-storey block behind The Valley built in the late 1970s – was the only block not given cladding.
Charlton Triangle says it will be carrying out additional inspections over the coming week to double-check safety doors and escape routes, with caretakers reminded to be extra vigilant.
The association, which will soon become part of the giant Peabody group, took control of the blocks from Greenwich Council in 1999, refurbishing and remodelling the estates over the following years. Unlike many other London authorities, Greenwich retains direct control of most other housing estates in the borough.
On Wednesday, Greenwich released a statement saying it was carrying out extra checks on the cladding used on 11 of its high-rise blocks, with fire safety officers examining escape routes at the six 24-storey blocks.
It added that all 93 high-rise blocks in the borough had current safety certificates, with the exception of two on John Wilson Street in Woolwich which had interim certificates because they were undergoing refurbishment. Those two blocks would be given updated risk assessments once work had been completed, it said.