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Worcester Park fire: Metropolitan Thames Valley block was a timber frame building

The housing association block in south-west London that was ravaged by a major fire earlier this morning was a timber-framed building, the developer has confirmed.

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The blaze on Sherbrooke Way in Worcester Park, Sutton (picture: London Fire Brigade)
The blaze on Sherbrooke Way in Worcester Park, Sutton (picture: London Fire Brigade)
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Worcester Park: Metropolitan Thames Valley block was a timber-framed building #ukhousing

St James, the developer behind the construction of the building in Worcester Park, told the magazine that the four-storey block was constructed using timber frame.

St James, which is a subsidiary of major house builder Berkeley, also said that the cladding on the building was made with a concrete composite. It said this was an a2 fire rated material, making it non-combustible and compliant with the government’s ban on combustible materials on buildings of 18m and over.

Earlier today around 125 firefighters were called to a fire at one of the buildings in 800-home Hamptons development in Worcester Park, Sutton.

It is the second high-profile timber frame fire to take place in the last month, with 150 people having to be evacuated from a timber-framed care home in Crewe that set fire in August. The fire, which required more than 70 firefighters to control it, led to questions being raised by politicians over the use of timber frame construction in residential buildings.

Inside Housing revealed earlier today that the building was owned and managed by housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley, and included 23 shared ownership apartments. Staff members from the housing association have been on the scene all day working with emergency services.

A spokesperson for the association confirmed that it had now installed 24/7 waking watch patrols at all 15 of its buildings at the Hamptons development.

She added: “Our primary concern is to ensure that residents have the support they need over the days and weeks ahead. We are ensuring that all residents whose homes have been damaged in the fire have a place to stay.

“While the cause of the fire is being investigated, we are putting put in place arrangements to ensure that all of our residents living in neighbouring blocks feel safe in their homes.”

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has reported no injuries at this stage.

Speaking after the fire, Martin Corbett, Sutton borough fire commander, said the building would now “probably be knocked down at some point and rebuilt”.

A Berkeley spokesperson said: “I can confirm that the property was constructed a decade ago, in full compliance with all fire regulations.

“We will support the London Fire Brigade in their investigation into what happened. In the meantime, our priority is to make sure residents are properly looked after.”

The is the second high-profile residential fire in London this summer involving timber materials.

In June, flames tore through timber cladding fixed to the outside of Samuel Garside House in Barking Riverside, forcing residents to flee for their lives.

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