Anger at two year delay to tower block investigation

Residents and councillors are ‘angry’ at a two year delay to an investigation into why Hanover Tower had unsafe cladding.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 12:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 5:47 pm
Workers taking the dangerous cladding off Hanover Tower

There are more than 120 homes in the 16-storey tower block on Exeter Drive, Broomhall. In 2017 it failed new fire safety tests introduced in the wake of the Grenfell disaster which killed at least 79 people.

An investigation was then launched into why the council allowed unsafe cladding to be put on the building. At the time councillors said the report would be finished by the end of the year and since the date has been pushed back multiple times.

Councillor Angela Argenzio, representative for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward, said: “We feel very frustrated that it has taken this long for the investigation to be carried out and the fact the results are not yet public. It must however be a lot more worrying for the residents of the Tower: over two years on from the Grenfell Tragedy and people are still waiting for answers.”

At the start of this year Janet Sharpe, director for housing, said the report was 95 percent complete, apologised for delays and said it would be published in March, which did not happen.

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Michael Mullin, who used to live and still has relatives living in Hanover Tower, said residents were put at risk between 2012 and 2017 and said the council had ‘made a mockery’ of the situation.

Coun Argenzio added: “We understand the report is now ready but has been passed onto an independent legal team, it makes me wonder why the report is being withheld more than two years after it was first commissioned and I would also like to know why the report needs to be checked so extensively by external layers even though we know that it has been completed. Are the administration hiding something?

“As one of the local councillors I feel angry on behalf of my constituents and I wait for the final report with trepidation.”

Ms Sharpe said: “We made a decision to commission some external expertise to help with the investigation and validate our findings. It has taken longer than expected but we are at the final stage now and intend to issue the final report soon. We will arrange to meet with residents to discuss it before we issue it to the wider public.”