Number of Glasgow flats with combustible cladding ‘in the hundreds’

Image of the Grenfell Tower fire courtesy of Natalie Oxford via Twitter
Image of the Grenfell Tower fire courtesy of Natalie Oxford via Twitter

Combustible cladding has been found in 57 private high-rise properties in Glasgow though it is understood that the total number of flats affected is likely to be in the low hundreds.

Glasgow City Council made the admission after Holyrood’s local government and communities committee was told earlier this week that the cladding was discovered while looking back over the plans for some private residential properties in the city.

Council planning official, Raymond Barlow, told MSPs that while the cladding had been found on some buildings in the city, neither the owners, residents or the fire service had been informed.

Mr Barlow said all the developments had won planning consent prior to 2005, when new housing regulations came into force.

Responding to the news, housing minister Kevin Stewart, who is due to give evidence to the committee next week, said the information given was not sufficient enough to have been available to provide enough clarity to ministers, the fire service and any potential residents.

The council has stressed that there was “no suggestion that these buildings are a particular fire risk” and promised to begin informing residents by the end of next week and.

Around a dozen blocks are thought to have a substantial amount of aluminium composite material (ACM), the same cladding used on Grenfell Tower in London, where up to 80 people died in a fire in June.

Scottish Government officials are now helping Glasgow City Council with their audit of the housing after saying it had not been provided with a sufficient amount of detail about the findings.

Responding to the questions, Glasgow City Council leader, Susan Aitken said the safety of residents was “paramount” to the administration, saying officers were “working to fully assess the levels of ACM in private accommodation and what, if any, problems this may pose”.

A letter to the local government and communities committee read: “In response to a request from the MWG on 20 June, Glasgow City Council (GCC) reviewed Building Control records and provided information to the Scottish Government on 5th September 2017 regarding 57 domestic properties above 18 metres, which records indicate may contain Aluminium Composite Material (AMC).

“Since then, GCC have been liaising with colleagues in the Scottish Government around the additional information requested by the Ministerial Working Group (MWG). It became clear that the information presented is not yet a complete picture and for this reason, the information was not made public.

“I have instructed officers in the council to take the Scottish Government’ offer of assistance to expedite this investigation, given that we now have additional clarity about what is required and I believe that the additional information the Scottish Government seeks, and which Glasgow City Council holds, can be provided by the end of next week.

“I have also instructed officers to liaise immediately with the local Scottish Fire and Rescue Service around the list provided to the MWG earlier this month, to discuss with them any support they can provide in conducting initial inspections of the properties.

“I understand that the intention of the MWG was always to ensure that residents in properties with ACM cladding would be made aware of this once any implications for owners and residents were known. Glasgow City Council will inform residents in affected properties, by letter, when the additional information has been gathered.

“I will ensure that the committee are kept up to date with the council’s work and its conclusions.”

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