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

PUBLISHED: 07:59 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:11 15 March 2019

A blockade has been put in place after cladding on the Westlegate Tower has been ripped off due to the high winds. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

A blockade has been put in place after cladding on the Westlegate Tower has been ripped off due to the high winds. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A retired doctor living in Westlegate Tower in Norwich says he feels safe in the building after some of its cladding ripped off in the wind yesterday afternoon.

Westlegate Tower in Norwich has been damaged by strong winds. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodWestlegate Tower in Norwich has been damaged by strong winds. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Dr John Williams has lived on the top floor of the city centre tower for the last three years and praised the response by the building’s manager Watons Property and emergency services.

The retired doctor said: “We had a fast response from Watsons saying that there had been an issue with the wind.

“By then the rumours had spread that something had happened. We now only have one entrance to the building as we can’t go onto Westlegate.

“They said steps were in place to repair the building and they were working with the fire brigade to take the appropriate action, the first being to secure the place.

Westlegate Tower in Norwich has been damaged by strong winds. Picture: ArchantWestlegate Tower in Norwich has been damaged by strong winds. Picture: Archant

“It is obviously a danger if the wind continues. It is a worry because I don’t want anyone in Westlegate to be injured and more damage will be expensive.”

It was reported that the building had been damaged at about 12.20pm on Thursday, March 14.

Fire crews attempted to remove the fallen cladding using a lift but were unable to because of the high winds.

Westlegate has been closed off to the public and will not re-open until the fire service has declared the area safe.

A piece of cladding has been torn from Westlegate Tower in high winds. Picture: Dominic GilbertA piece of cladding has been torn from Westlegate Tower in high winds. Picture: Dominic Gilbert

Dr Williams added: “It does move a little bit at the top.

“Two years ago a bit of beading came off in storm Doris but it is a tall building and wind will have an effect.

“I feel completely safe here. There is a chance that if we go out and bits are flying about someone will get hurt but there have been no calls to leave the tower block.”

The damage comes as Norfolk faces 65mph winds with the Met Office issuing a weather warning.

Shops in the area have been told not to open but if they do, it is at their own risk.

Nathan Humphreys, head of residential management at Watsons Property, said: “We received a call from a resident to say there had been a loud crash and that their skylight had been broken by something falling off the building.

“It was clear the external cladding had been pulled off in the high winds.

“We attended within 10 minutes and cordoned off the area with our health and safety officer contacting highways to seek their advice.”

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