South East London council will not evacuate residents as work takes place

Lewisham council has become the second London borough to remove the entire cladding from some of its residential tower blocks, following the Grenfell fire.

The South East London council has removed unspecified cladding material from two Hatfield towers in New Cross, although unlike Camden, which is taking down cladding from five blocks, it did not believe evacuating residents was necessary.

Instead it has instigated 24/7 fire safety patrols in both buildings while the work takes place.

Sir Steve Bullock, Lewisham’s mayor, said: “Following the results of government fire safety tests, we have ordered the removal of external cladding from two buildings in New Cross. I am satisfied, on the advice of Lewisham Homes and London Fire Brigade, that there is no need to evacuate any buildings.

“The removal of the cladding will be done with the minimum of inconvenience to residents. Safety is our top priority and we are considering extending Lewisham Homes’ sprinkler programme to include our tower blocks, guided by advice from the London Fire Brigade.’

Lewisham council said each of its residential buildings had been risk assessed by a specialist contractor and as an extra precaution extra fire-safety inspections carried out.

The local authority said it had also written to every resident with safety advice, while staff had visited tower blocks to meet residents and answer their questions.