A CALL has been made for unsafe cladding on tower blocks in Wales - including three in Newport - to be removed as quickly as possible to avoid a repeat of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The three blocks managed by Newport City Homes - Milton Court in Ringland, Hillview in the Gaer and Greenwood in St Julians – were the only ones in Wales to fail fire safety tests following the devastating blaze in London in June last year.
And in May the organisation was given £3 million by the Welsh Government to replace the material, with work to begin at Hillview next month.
Speaking in the Assembly yesterday, Conservative South Wales Central AM David Melding, said cladding should be removed as soon as possible, with issues of who is responsible for doing so to be settled later.
"Last month, Wales's chief fire adviser said that residents in private high-rise blocks may have to live with unsafe cladding for years because of wrangling over who should pay for it," he said.
"And the Residential Landlords Association has called on the Welsh Government to offer short-term loans to the privately-owned buildings for remedial works while the issue of liability is sorted out."
He added: "For the private sector, the priority should be to remove dangerous materials from these buildings, and the issue surrounding liability contracts and responsibility should come later."
First minister Carwyn Jones replied: "There are private companies across Wales who are looking at the buildings that they own and are taking action in order to make them safer, and so they should.
"I'd urge those private companies who own buildings to do just that. They will have made a substantial amount of money in the main from those buildings. It's only right then that they contribute back to the upkeep of those buildings and not expect residents or tenants to pay."
But Plaid Cymru South Wales West AM Bethan Sayed said she was concerned some management companies in the private sector are made up of residents' associations, and may not be able to afford to replace cladding.
Mr Jones replied the Welsh Government would consider providing assistance "where there is genuine difficulty".
Newport City Homes has said work to replace cladding at Hillview will take about 16 weeks. Once this is finished work will begin at Greenwood and Milton Court.
NOTES: This is an article from the South Wales Argues available at - http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/16331362.dangerous-cladding-on-ne…