South Tyneside tower blocks get fire safety all clear

Durham Court, in Hebburn.
Durham Court, in Hebburn.

Tower blocks in South Tyneside have been given the all clear after fire checks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze disaster.

Housing chiefs who tested materials on the borough’s four high rises following the London fire in June, which killed at least 80 people, say all tests were passed.

Inspections were carried out on external materials at the 12-storey Wilkinson Court, Ellen Court, Monastery Court, all in Jarrow, and Durham Court, in Hebburn.

Experts at South Tyneside Homes, the borough’s local authority housing agency, found the Jarrow buildings had cladding made up on non-combustible fibre board.

They also confirm there were no cavities within the fabric of the system.

At Durham Court, there was found non-combustible fibre board and no cavities, and windows with non-combustible insulation.

The findings have been released by South Tyneside Council in a report of the Jarrow and Boldon Area Forum.

A council spokeswoman said: “Although the council was not required to test its cladding, the material was nevertheless sent away for testing to provide additional reassurance for residents.

“However, we received notification from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) that due to our samples not being Aluminium Composite Materials (ACM) and therefore not similar to the cladding on Grenfell Tower, they did not deem it necessary to test.”

The three Jarrow high rises were built in 1966 and each consists of 44 properties with up to 57 residents.

The report shows full external major works were carried out in 2012 and 2013, the same year a full internal refurbishment was completed.

Durham Court was constructed in 1973 and has 111 properties with 127 residents.

The reports states full external major works were done in 1999 and a full internal refurbishment in 2010.

It also reveals that South Tyneside Homes staff carry out daily checks of fire alarm panels and fire doors, inspect all floor areas, and monitor dry risers.

At least 80 people are feared to have died when the 24-storey high Grenfell Tower erupted in flames on June 14.

The blaze led to high rise blocks around the country being tested for safety.