Residents at Gosport tower block 'living in plastic hell'

People living in a tower block in Gosport say plastic sheeting, installed following the Grenfell Tower blaze, is blighting their lives and affecting their mental health.

The covering was installed at Blake Court more than a year ago following safety inspections at four blocks in the town.

Some squares have been cut out in front of some of the windows to let the light in, but residents say they have "had enough of living in semi-darkness".

It's like living in a cave with the lights off and depression sets in. It's ridiculous, people can't afford it. There's a lot of people living in this block who are elderly and living on fixed incomes and they haven't got the money to pay for extra bills."

Peter Maguire, Resident, Blake Court
This is the view out of one window at Blake Court. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Hyde Housing Association has said the cladding on the tower block was safe but is being upgraded.

The majority of residents at the tower block are elderly and have mobility problems.

One resident, Betty, 88, who has lived in the block for 40 years now relies on friends to take her out for some daylight.

I feel miserable because I can't see anything. I was lucky they cut a slot out so I could see if it was raining or snowing and then we've got to have our lights on all the time."

Betty Sidwell, Resident, Blake Court

Despite the widespread anger, some residents are reassured that the work is taking place.

It's not been nice at all but it's something that had to be done. We have to put up with it, there's nothing we can do. We can't take it off. It can't go on much longer like this. They're gradually getting it off, it's taken time but we'll be safe when it's done that's the main thing and the fact that we haven't got a big bill coming in for it."

Alistair & Joan Campbell, Residents, Blake Court

There are still remnants of the former cladding around the back of the building.

Work on two towers in the town has been completed with work on another three, including Blake Court, underway but it is being hampered by bad weather.

The schedule for completion of the works is as follows:

  • Seaward Towers – scaffolding is now coming down with completion expected in mid-March 2020

  • Hammond Court – completion expected at the end of Feb 2020

  • Blake Court – completion expected at the end of Feb 2020

  • Harbour Towers – completed December 2019

  • Garland Court – completed November 2019

Credit: ITV News Meridian

I can confirm that everything is running to the revised programme which was agreed in July 2019. The only thing that could push the end dates back is inclement weather and unfortunately the weather is being particularly challenging in Gosport at the moment. However, we are doing everything we can to work to schedule and are keeping our residents updated via regular communication."

Liz Oliver, Compliance Director, Hyde Housing Association