‘Residents fear fire and cold’: Calls for new cladding to go on quicker

Opposition councillors are calling for safe cladding on Hanover Tower to go on quicker than planned, saying residents are ‘worried about the cold’ as well as fire risk.

Workers taking the dangerous cladding off Hanover Tower
Workers taking the dangerous cladding off Hanover Tower

It comes two years after the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people due to dangerous cladding.

Hanover Tower was the only block in Sheffield to fail new fire tests desinged after the disaster in London.

Sheffield City Council have since removed the dangerous cladding and aim to have the new sheets fitted by the end of summer.

Councillor Katlum Rivers and Angela Argenzio of the Green Party

But opposition say it is time to get renters out of ‘limbo’ now and have submitted a motion to be discussed at a full council meeting next week urging them to fit it sooner.

Councillor Kaltum Rivers, of Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward, said: “Residents tell me they are worried about fire in the flats but also about the cold after the cladding was removed. When one resident complained of damp, she was told it was because of her ‘lifestyle choice’ because of condensation.”

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‘A fire here could have been as bad as Grenfell’: New cladding for Hanover Tower

Coun Rob Murphy, leader of the Greens, said: “We now know that, despite concerns raised about fire safety at the time the cladding was installed in 2012, someone authorised a switch from the original, aluminium cladding to a flammable version. The council has confirmed it has not sought to recover any money from the contractor but has refused to say who it thinks is at fault. The investigation is still ‘ongoing’.”

Coun Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said they are trying to get it done as soon as possible to avoid disruption to residents.

He said: “My personal view is that if there is anything else we need to do we do those at the same time, so we minimise disruption.

“All the preparation has been done now – it may not look it but a lot of work has been done and once the cladding starts going on it will go on quite quickly.

“By April we should start seeing green panels starting to go back up.

“The problem we have at the moment without the cladding is we are reminded why we have the cladding – in terms of cold and damp – so we are compensating people for fuel bills in the meantime.

“I think cladding is one of the great housing successes of the past 25 years, that’s partly why Grenfell was such a tragedy it wasn’t done right and people lost their lives.”

Some residents are also asking for an apology for the dangerous materials previously used.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “A fire here could have been as bad as Grenfell.

“If 72 people had not needlessly died we would still have Alucobond (dangerous type of cladding) on. Hanover was a deathtrap for five years. Children live on even the highest floors. When will we be told why? When will the council apologise?”