Oxford City Council have confirmed that unsafe cladding was removed from a Cowley highrise at which a rooftop blaze broke out this weekend.

More than 100 calls were made to Oxfordshire fire and rescue service after a rooftop broke out at Hockmore tower, off Pound Way, at around 7pm on Sunday.

Replacement of the building's cladding, known as high-pressure laminate cladding or HPL was due to be completed in November.

READ MORE: Rooftop fire at Hockmore tower in Cowley

It has now been confirmed that the panels have been removed, and replaced with sheet aluminium, with final checks to take place next month.

Cllr Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing confimed: “We will not compromise on the safety of people living in our tower blocks and Sunday’s fire was not due to an issue with cladding.

"All potentially unsafe high-pressure laminate (HPL) rain screen panels were removed from Hockmore Tower last year and have been replaced with sheet aluminium panels – the safest type of rain screen.

"Fortem is now completing final checks on the tower and we expect Building Control to sign off the work next month.”

The cladding on Hockmore Tower was not originally identified as unsafe as it didn’t contain Aluminium Composite Material – the type of rain screen used at Grenfell Tower.

However, in 2019 it emerged that a cladding system featuring HPL rain screen and combustible insulation would need to be  removed too after failing fire safety tests

Read more from this author

This story was written by Shosha Adie

She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.   

To get in touch with her email: Shosha.Adie@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie

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