A CONTROVERSIAL tower block which tested positive for unsafe cladding in the light of the Grenfell disaster has been officially acquired by the council.

Slough Borough Council announced this morning (Friday) that it had completed the deal to take ownership of Nova House in Buckingham Gardens.

It did this by purchasing the freehold company of the building, Ground Rents Estates 5 Ltd (GRE5).

The council announced its intention to buy the company last year after concerns were raised about the fire safety of the building in the wake of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London. The building failed a number of tests for its cladding after a government review was set up nationally.

The council took the unusual step to take over the building in a bid to replace the cladding sooner as it did not have confidence this could be done by the freeholders - and the cost was high.

Since the announcement the council has been undertaking due diligence on the purchase with the acquisition now complete. The council has appointed four directors to the board of GRE5 – the trading name of Ground Rents Estates 5 Limited – Mike England, Joe Carter, Neale Cooper and Stephen Gibson.

A council spokesman said: "All four have a great deal of experience in housing, regeneration, finance and managing assets and will also be drawing on the expertise of external companies, council officers and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue."

Cllr Mohammed Nazir, lead member for corporate finance and housing, said: “We promised we would work for the residents of Nova House and do everything we could to ensure their safety in the short and longer terms.

“We are delighted to have now completed the purchase of GRE5 and appointed excellent directors to the board who can drive forward the improvements so desperately needed, liaise with the leaseholders and, most of all, protect the safety of the residents.

“There is a lot of work still to be done and we, as owners of GRE5 and as the council, will be keeping a close interest in how the work needed to the building proceeds.”

The council said it had arranged new branding for the company following the purchase.