Residents still waiting to find out why dangerous cladding was put on tower block

Residents of a Sheffield tower block have been waiting for a report investigating why dangerous cladding was put on the tower block for nearly three years.

Thursday, 30th April 2020, 9:18 am
Updated Thursday, 30th April 2020, 11:37 am

Throughout a long series of delays, residents of Hanover Tower, Broomhall, have become increasingly ‘paranoid’ about why the report has taken so long to be shared.

Here is a look at what happened, why the report is so far behind schedule and where it is at now.

2017

Grenfell Tower. Credit: Henry Nicholls / SWNS.com

New fire safety tests were brought in following the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people in North Kensington in 2017.

The tests were carried out on buildings across the country including on all of Sheffield's 24 tower blocks. Out of those, Hanover Tower, Exeter Drive, was the only one to fail.

It showed the cladding had the same dangerous materials which enabled fire to spread so quickly through Grenfell.

Following this, Sheffield Council announced it would remove the cladding that summer and replace it with safer materials.

It also launched an independent investigation to find out why it was put on in the first place, which was due to be completed by the end of 2017.

2018

The report missed the initial deadline and local councillors continued to quiz city leaders as things developed.

It was revealed in full council members’ questions that the total cost of replacing the panels would be £3.92 million.

2019

At the beginning of the year, Janet Sharpe, council director for housing, said the report was ‘95 per cent complete’, apologised for delays and said it would be published in March, which did not happen.

The deadline was then pushed back to December 2019, but this was postponed again until the new year, this time because Lovell Homes wanted to go over some details.

In the meantime, the new cladding was going up on the building.

Now

The dangerous cladding has been completely replaced.

However, many missed deadlines later, the report on the investigation has still not been shared with residents or the press.

There were a number of promises made at the start of the year to meet with residents, so they could get physical copies of the report and ask questions of the council.

However, these were not kept and now, as the coronavirus pandemic has led to strict rules against gatherings, it is unclear when the report will be shared.

Coun Angela Argenzio, representative for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, said: “People are really disheartened, they roll their eyes when yet another promise is made and some are really angry.

“There are some conspiracy theories floating around because there is no clarity or trust anymore.

“They’ve lost faith in the council, residents are really fed up. The delays are making people paranoid.

“People want closure, they want to put it behind them, but until the report is published they can’t.

“They also want reassurance that their homes are safe now. And part of human nature is they want someone to blame for it.

“I’m so outraged for the residents.

“People on that estate already have to put up with poor conditions, I sometimes think if this had been on a more affluent part of the ward, would the report have had so many delays?”

Sheffield Council has been approached for comment.

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