Five tower blocks in Camden to be evacuated over cladding

Five tower blocks in Camden to be evacuated over cladding

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More than 800 homes in tower blocks on a council estate in Camden, north London, are be evacuated because of safety concerns over cladding in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Camden Council says residents in flats in five towers on the Chalcots estate will be moved for “urgent fire safety works”.

Similar cladding was used on the building to that on the Grenfell Tower.

A total of 79 people are feared dead after the Grenfell fire.

Camden Council had said it will remove external thermal cladding from five tower blocks on the estate.

It had initially announced the evacuation of one tower block, Taplow, but later extended the move to all five tower blocks it had checked.

The council said it would carry out regular fire safety patrols and safety checks to reassure residents.

Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Camden Council is absolutely determined to ensure that our residents are safe and we have promised them that we will work with them, continue to act swiftly and be open and transparent.”

She said London Fire Brigade had completed a joint inspection of the blocks with Camden Council technical experts.

It was decided the flats needed to be “temporarily decanted” to allow the work “so that residents can be fully assured of their safety. This means that we need to move residents from their homes and into temporary accommodation.”

Ms Gould said the work is expected to take three to four weeks, adding the “Grenfell fire changes everything”.

The announcement came as the Metropolitan Police said the Grenfell Tower fire started in a fridge-freezer, and outside cladding and insulation failed safety tests.

Detectives say manslaughter, health and safety, and fire safety charges will be considered as part of their investigation.

A national operation to identify buildings with cladding similar to that used in Grenfell Tower has seen local authorities send samples for independent tests.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said 14 residential high-rise buildings in nine local authority areas have now been found with cladding that raises safety concerns.

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