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People branded ‘stupid’ for ignoring warning signs after cladding torn from Norwich tower

PUBLISHED: 08:10 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:36 15 March 2019

Person climbs over barrier despite road closure after cladding fell from Westlegate Tower. PIC: Peter Walsh

Person climbs over barrier despite road closure after cladding fell from Westlegate Tower. PIC: Peter Walsh

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People have been putting themselves at risk after they ignored warning signs to walk through an area which has been closed off after strong winds tore a chunk of cladding off a city centre tower block.

Woman ignores warning signs in Westlegate. PIC: Peter WalshWoman ignores warning signs in Westlegate. PIC: Peter Walsh

Reports came in on Thursday that the cladding had come loose from Westlegate Tower, and had crashed into a skylight at a flat below.

Part of Westlegate has been closed and will remain closed until the fire services declare the area safe while businesses in the area have been advised to stay closed.

But despite the warnings and road closed signs which have been displayed at either end of Westlegate people have been putting themselves at risk by ignoring the warning signs and scrambling through.

In the space of just a few minutes on Friday (March 15) morning five people scrambled up and over the barriers that have been put in place to walk through the street and under the tower which has had cladding ripped from it.

Signs show part of Westlegate is closed after cladding fell from tower. PIC: Peter WalshSigns show part of Westlegate is closed after cladding fell from tower. PIC: Peter Walsh

MORE: Residents allowed to stay in tower after cladding ripped off in 60mph winds

A 55-year-old cleaner, who wanted to remain anonymous, but stood and watched as a couple of people ignored the warning signs said: “Its ridiculous.

“She probably would’ve done more harm to herself getting through than anything else.

“It’s only a couple of minutes to walk round and it’s safe.

“I’m just surprised that people are stupid enough to risk an accident just to get through when they can walk around in two minutes.”

He added it is not as if there are not signs letting people know it to walk through.

Businesses within the cordon remained shut this morning following yesterday’s incident.

Nathan Humphreys, head of residential management at Watsons Property, which manages the building, said: “We attended within 10 minutes and have cordoned off the area with our health and safety officer contacting highways to seek their advice.”

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.

Norfolk police said officers were called at 12.47pm to reports that a piece of plasterboard had come off the building.

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