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We'll step up safety work on Felmores' timber-clad homes
RESIDENTS have been assured that the controversial timber cladding on homes on the Felmores estate, Basildon, is to be removed.
Basildon Council announced yesterday it would be sending contractors to the estate to kickstart improvements.
The work, due to start in October, comes a month after the estatewas hit by another fire which left seven homes uninhabitable.
The flammable cladding, widely believed to have allowed fires on the estate to spread between homes, will be replaced with cement.
Residents will be asked what colour cladding they want.
Phil Turner, Basildon councillor responsible for housing, said: “The homes in Felmores have been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, following July’s fire in Bockingham Green.
“Before that incident it was always the council’s intention to replace the cladding on the homes here and I am pleased to say we are seeing progress.
“This programme of works and the consequent consultationwith residents gives the people of Felmores a chance to have a say over how their estate will look in the future.”
Contractors, Wates Living Space, will go to the estate later this month to consult with residents.
Work will then start in October.
The work will affect homes in Devlins, Malyons, Bockingham Green, LittleburyGreen, Loxford, Winstree and BartlowEnd.
Resident Brian Tams said the programme did not go far enough. He said the buildings’ timber frames would still be an issue.
Mr Tams, 41, of Bockingham Green, which has suffered two serious fires, said: “I’ve lived here for two years and three months.
“When I first came here, there was a big meeting about the work that was going to be done to improve things and so far nothing has happened. It’s too little, too late.
“Although it would be nice for us to have the cladding on the outside – it will improve the look of homes – it’s the timber frames of the properties that cause the fires to spread. This just doesn’t go far enough.”
The Echo told earlier this month how residents have been waiting nearly 18 months for the outside of their homes to be covered in the new cladding.
The work would improve the fuel efficiency of homes and also make them less of a fire risk.
Work to 400 homes on the estate at a cost of around £4million was first pledged by Basildon Council inMarch, 2012.
It was given the go-ahead in June this year, but so far only ten homes in Winstree have received the improvements.
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