WORK has begun to remove brightly coloured Lego-style cladding from university accommodation after it was deemed to be dangerous.

Photographs appear to show work has begun to remove the cladding from the University of Essex accommodation in Southend’s University Square.

The 500-room accommodation’s visually striking but dangerous high pressure laminate cladding is being replaced by safe panels with neutral grey tones.


However, a review in October of last year deemed the 10-storey building’s cladding to be dangerous in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster which claimed 72 lives.

Echo: The new neutral colour designsThe new neutral colour designs (Image: Image:)

Colin Nickless, 46, who launched a fire safety campaign across Southend in 2019 to raise awareness of dangerous cladding, said: “We are over five years on from Grenfell now, so it has been a while, but I am extremely pleased that work has begun to make this building safe.

“We have known for a while this needed to be done, so I am pleased that work has begun, even if it has taken a little too long to get to this point.

Echo: Workmen spotted on site removing the claddingWorkmen spotted on site removing the cladding (Image: Image: Phil Peries)

He added: “I hope the students who live in the block will soon be able to feel they can live with complete peace of mind they are safe.”

University of Essex say they expected work to replace the cladding to be completed by December 2023.

A spokesman for the university said: "In consultation with the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service we’ve put in place a number of mitigation measures which means the building can continue to be occupied safely.  

“These mitigations include no residential occupancy above 18 metres and enhanced security cover provision 24/7. We also have a policy of full evacuation in the event of a Fire Alarm activation and this evacuation is supervised at all times by our on-site security staff.”