THREE blocks of Southampton flats are set to have their cladding replaced amid fears a fire could spread.

Two blocks at Empire View and another block, called Gantry Court, were recently found to have High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) and insulation cladding.

But a public government document states systems using any type of HPL panels (Class B, C or D) with combustible insulation are “very unlikely to adequately resist the spread of fire”.

But almost three years on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, housing association VIVID, which provides the 115 Southampton homes, have decided to test the cladding.

They are working to find a replacement cladding system while fire wardens monitor the premises.

According to VIVID, the level of risk HPL carries is not as high as aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding used at Grenfell Tower.

But one resident from Empire View said they were previously assured the type of cladding used was safe.

He said: “I feel unsafe as I think they have known about it for some time.

“Why was this type of cladding put on in the first place?

The resident, who has lived there for seven years, added: "We were also informed we may have to pay for the cladding ourselves."

Julian Chun, director of property and strategic services at VIVID, said: “We’ve taken the decision to undertake fire safety works on three blocks of flats in Southampton to ensure the highest level of safety for our residents in the event of a fire.

“We wanted to make sure residents were the first to know about this and have written to them with information and details of drop-in sessions. This ensures everyone is kept informed and has the chance to ask any questions.”

He added: “After commissioning a detailed fire safety study, we identified HPL cladding on the three blocks.

“As a result we’ve decided to replace the cladding to make sure these properties have the highest safety standards. This aligns with the Government’s recent advice that whilst the level of risk HPL carries is not as high as ACM cladding, it should be replaced.

“We’d like to reassure residents that we’ve now commenced work to find the best available replacement cladding solution as quickly as possible.

"In the meantime, to ensure everyone’s safety, we’ve introduced a 24/7 fire patrol at all three blocks until a new fire alarm system is installed, and we’re inspecting all common area fire doors. We’ll continue to work closely with the fire service and keep our residents informed of our plans.”