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Westlegate in Norwich to remain closed until winds drop after cladding fell from tower

PUBLISHED: 17:15 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 21:21 15 March 2019

Westlegate remains closed after cladding fell from Westlegate Tower. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Westlegate remains closed after cladding fell from Westlegate Tower. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Archant

A street in Norwich which has been shut since high winds tore a chunk of cladding from a tower block will remain closed until winds have dropped enough to safely assess the damage.

Part of Westlegate remained shut on Friday after cladding fell from the tower. Pic: Dan GrimmerPart of Westlegate remained shut on Friday after cladding fell from the tower. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Cladding from part of Westlegate Tower came loose on Thursday afternoon and crashed into the skylight of a flat below.

Following the damage Norwich City Council agreed a temporary order to close part of Westlegate.

It remained shut all day yesterday and will remain closed until the high-winds drop and the damage to the tower can be safely assessed.

A spokesman for Watsons Property, which manages the building said: “Watsons has been liaising with all relevant local authority and emergency departments, as well as the building’s insurers and the freeholders.

“The temporary closure of Westlegate yesterday occurred after full consultation with the relevant bodies. That closure must remain in place in the interests of public safety until the wind has dropped and it is possible to assess the damage and determine the extent of any temporary safety work.

“Those inspections have been arranged and will take place as soon as possible but high winds are forecast again for tomorrow.

“As soon as all parties are satisfied it is safe to do so, the barriers will be removed. In the meantime, we thank everyone affected for their understanding and patience.”

Shops such as Evans Cycles, Paula Gundry and the Warings Lifestore were closed yesterday.

However, the lower section of Westlegate, where the likes of Tesco and Adnams are based, was open.

The chunk of cladding which blew off was around halfway up the 41m-high tower.

It followed a Met Office weather warning for strong winds across the East of England through Thursday morning, with gusts of up to 65mph hitting the region.

Westlegate Tower was refurbished in 2014 at a cost of £8m and houses around 20 apartments and two commercial units.

The people who live in the tower have not had to leave and are still able to get to their homes via Timber Hill.

Despite the warnings and road closed signs, on Friday (March 15), people were putting themselves at risk by ignoring the warning signs and scrambling through, passing close to where the cladding fell.

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