A COWLEY tower block is due to be stripped of cladding which has been deemed unsafe.

Plans to remove a layer of cladding from Hockmore Tower was announced by Oxford City Council last summer, alongside works to four other towers in the city.

It was due to begin in January but because of a change in guidance from architects, solar panels are also being pulled off the building and support structures used to hold up the cladding will need to be altered.

What was originally due to be a four-month long job is now expected to take a year, starting in November.

The cladding which is due to be removed is called High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) and is used as a 'rain screen' to protect insulation underneath it from the elements.

The HPL cladding was installed on the tower between 2016 and 2017 as part of a £22.5m council scheme to improve insulation and fire safety systems in the building.

But a decision was taken to remove it by the council, after clarification about the types of cladding which were allowed on buildings was released by the Government.

READ AGAIN about the decision to remove it here

Council contractor Fortem will pay for the costs of replacing the HPL cladding with safe aluminium sheets.

A small amount of work to replace cladding will also take place at Evenlode and Windrush tower blocks, both of which are in Blackbird Leys

Mike Rowley, the council cabinet member for affordable housing and housing the homeless, said: “The safety of our tenants has always been and will always be our primary concern.

“From the outset we listened to the advice of the fire service and went above and beyond the government’s rules, installing sprinklers in every flat, new fire detectors and new fire doors.

He added: "The work will secure the homes for the next 30 years."