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Grenfell Tower-style cladding surrounds 11-storey Cambridge apartment block


By Ben Hatton, Local Democracy Reporter


Cladding of the kind used on Grenfell Tower is present on an 11-storey block of flats in Cambridge, an investigation has uncovered.

Responding to a freedom of information request, Cambridge City Council said The Belvedere Tower, in Homerton Street, off Hills Road, is “understood to comprise 75 per cent ACM cladding”.

The Belvedere Tower in Cambridge. Picture: Ben Hatton
The Belvedere Tower in Cambridge. Picture: Ben Hatton

It is the only high-rise in the city known to the council to have aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding – the same kind linked to the spread of the Grenfell fire in June 2017 which killed 72 people.

A two-bed apartment in the tower was recently on the market for £695,000 - with the penthouse worth £1,000,000.

The council’s residential team manager for environmental services, Claire Adelizzi, said “the long-term plan is currently progressing regarding removal of the cladding and replacement with an alternative non-combustible material”.

She said in the meantime additional interim fire safety measures are in place.

The government has said ACM cladding was linked to the spread of the fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, and announced a £200m fund in May this year “for the removal of unsafe ACM cladding from privately-owned buildings”.

James Brokenshire MP, then housing secretary, said: “Where building owners have failed to step up, it is now imperative for the Government to act. We must ensure the long-term safety of the people living in these buildings.”

The city council confirmed the The Belvedere’s managers are compiling an application to the government relating to funding the cladding’s removal.

However no date was specified.

Responding to questions regarding the council’s involvement, Ms Adelizzi said: “Since Grenfell, Cambridge City Council have been working in partnership with Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service as well as the building management company and leasehold board of directors for this building within the city to ensure that adequate additional interim fire safety measures are in place and that these are being adequately managed and maintained, which is the case.

“We have sought and have been provided with regular updates regarding progress towards the long-term plan of removal and replacement of the cladding in line with the government’s requirement in relation to this in terms of high-rise buildings such as this.

“I understand that the long-term plan is currently progressing regarding removal of the cladding and replacement with an alternative non-combustible material and that as part of this the building management company and leasehold board of directors are compiling their application to government in terms of allocation of funding towards the overall cost of these works.

“As well as the involvement of environmental services and Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service, consultation is also being made with planning and building control.”

The fire service has not previously named the buildings in the county with the cladding, but has said residents have been made aware.

The building’s owners and managing company have been contact, but no response has yet been received.

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