Exterior works may soon be carried out at an Ipswich town centre block of flats after combustible materials were found following extensive building surveys.

A planning application has been submitted to remove and replace the existing cladding and opaque glass spandrel panels at Focus Apartments on Carr Street. 

The applicant, Grey GR, said they carried out extensive surveys to assess the safety of the building. 

The inspection determined that the external walling system of the block contains combustible materials.    

Grey GR spokesperson said: “Having recently completed the internal fire-stopping works within the building, we are now progressing the scope and design before instructing works on the exterior of the building to remove and replace the combustible materials.  

“The long-term safety of residents in their homes is our priority, and the works are a necessary step to ensuring the building is safe to live in.  

“We continue to communicate regularly with residents and leaseholders to update them on progress and planned works.” 

Ipswich Star:  Exterior works may soon start at Focus Apartments on Carr Street, Newsquest Exterior works may soon start at Focus Apartments on Carr Street, Newsquest (Image: Newsquest)

The works will include the replacement of cladding and opaque glass spandrel panels, render on EPS insulation, and associated flashings, copings, and trims. 

A few other Ipswich buildings have been struggling with cladding issues for years, including Cardinal Lofts and St Francis Tower. 

In mid-November 2022, the residents of the top three floors of the block on Foundry Lane were evacuated from their homes due to a fire risk. 

In February 2023, the remaining residents were asked to leave their homes as the freeholder, Grey GR, said that the building “is no longer safe for occupation”. 

The residents have not been able to return to their homes ever since. The freeholder has recently issued an offer to buy back the leases of 80 flats in Cardinal Lofts. 

Another Ipswich building, St Francis Tower, was wrapped in plastic back in May 2021 due to concerns over cladding.

One of the residents said that his flat during the summer was “hot as hell”, and he could not even open his windows.    

A number of residents from the Franciscan Way block were evacuated after a huge water leak caused significant damage to the building in July.