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Fire breaks out at east London block with Grenfell-type cladding

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Housebuilding shares dipped after a fire at a tower block in the east of London involving the same cladding material that caused the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Reports said that fire at New Providence Wharf had left people injured and affected the 8th, 9th and tenth floors of the 19-story before being put out.

Developer Ballymore had been under pressure from residents to remove the ACM cladding since the Grenfell disaster four years ago and work was due to begin in April, it told the East London Advertiser.

In a statement issued today, Ballymore said: “Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this morning’s fire at New Providence Wharf. The safety of our residents is paramount and we are working closely with the London Fire Brigade.

“We can confirm that the fire was quickly brought under control by the Fire Brigade and is now extinguished. Our response team are on-site to support residents and assist with alternative accommodation where necessary.”

ACM cladding accounts for 22% of the block’s façade, the company said.

Earlier this year, the UK government introduced new legislation and set up a £5bn fund to remove flammable cladding from tower blocks to prevent a repeat of Grenfell, but that only covered building more than 18m high.

Owners of flats in low-rise blocks are required to take out loans to cover the cost and that has effectively made the properties unsellable, says owners groups, while they face escalating costs for insurance and requirements such as fire watch wardens.

Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV) said yesterday it had removed and replaced all ACM cladding from its developments at a cost including remedial work at Citiscape, Croydon, of £163.1mln.

Shares in Barratt dropped 0.5% to 776p while London-focused developer Berkeley Group PlC (LON:BKG) shed 1.9% to 4,660p.

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