CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Parents are told school has flammable cladding

Headteacher writes to reassure parents after it emerged building has cladding similar to that used at Grenfell Tower

14 July, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

The Bridge primary school is housed in the ground and first floor of a block of flats in Hungerford Road

THE headteacher of a school for children with special needs in Holloway has written to ­parents to reassure them over fire safety after it emerged the school building has flammable cladding similar to that used at Grenfell Tower, the Tribune can reveal.

The Bridge primary school, in Hungerford Road, is housed in the ground and first floor of a block of flats owned by the Guinness Partnership housing association. While the school part of the building itself is brick, the residential flats above are clad in aluminium composite material (ACM), believed to have a flammable plastic core.

It failed government-backed safety tests set up after the disastrous blaze in Kensington, which claimed at least 79 lives.

Another high-rise building owned by the same housing association in Percival Street also failed the test, raising questions over whether the material met regulations when it was attached to the buildings.

The Guinness Partnership said the fire brigade and independent fire safety advisers have assessed the buildings and confirmed that the measures in place mean it is safe for people to remain in their homes and that fire evacuation procedures are suitable.

A Guinness spokeswoman said: “We have taken immediate action to confirm it remains safe for our customers to continue living in their homes until works are complete.

“We have written to each of our customers in these blocks to explain the situation, to reassure them and to remind them of general safety advice and what to do in the event of a fire. We have also visited our customers in their homes and spoken to them about this in ­person.

“We have also put in place a 24-hour on-site presence until the cladding works are complete. This will provide increased security and ensure that exits and communal areas are kept clear at all times.”

The housing association is carrying out ­further assessments on the two buildings before deciding how to remove the cladding.

It comes after the Town Hall ordered cladding at Braithwaite House, a council-owned tower block in Finsbury, to be removed after it was found to be combustible. The removal of the cladding at that building is expected to be completed today (Friday).

The Town Hall has promised a full investigation into how it came to be applied.

The Bridge London’s headteacher, Penny ­Barratt, wrote to parents this week. The primary school is part of the mixed-use building with a lease from the Town Hall.

A council spokeswoman said: “Islington Council, the Department for Education, the Bridge School and The Guinness Partnership are working closely together and with ­London Fire Brigade to ensure the building is safe for all its users.

“Advice endorsed by the National Fire Chiefs’ Council makes clear that fire risk in buildings with ACM cladding can be managed by appropriate safety ­measures and additional checks.”

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