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Legal threat to city's cladding scheme follows fire

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A law firm has threatened legal action against Bristol City Council unless it halts a re-cladding programme for flats as concern about the implications for estates elsewhere follows the Grenfell Tower blaze in London.

Law firm Duncan Lewis said it had sent Bristol a letter before action - a precursor to legal action - over its £66m warmer homes initiative asking for the immediate halt of all cladding works and an independent fire safety inspection of all blocks being clad or where this has recently happened.

The firm said: “The fire at the Grenfell flats in London has caused our client great distress.

“Our client believes that the same or similar cladding has been used on his block of flats as well as other blocks of flats across Bristol. Our client is therefore extremely concerned about his safety and that of other residents.”

The client, who has not been named, also complains of “considerable resistance when raising such concerns with Bristol City Council”, including that escape routes leading to neighbouring balconies have been bricked up.

A Bristol spokesperson said: “We have received a letter relating to fire safety from solicitors instructed by a Bristol City Council tenant and we will respond within the timescales given in the letter.

“We would again like to reassure Bristol residents that the council and Avon Fire and Rescue Service work extremely closely and all Bristol City Council tower blocks have fire risk assessments in place which are checked annually.

“We do not believe that there is any cause for concern about the council’s housing blocks, but we will of course consider the details of the fire in London as they emerge, including whether there are any other steps which may need to be taken.”

LGC reported earlier how communities secretary Sajid Javid has today announced an emergency review of fire safety at 4,000 tower blocks across the country, while legal experts are now warning local authorities to make sure all relevant policies are up to date.

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