“DESIGN flaws” which partly caused the rapid spread of the Cube tower block fire only became clear following the blaze, according to the mayor of Greater Manchester.

Andy Burnham provided an update on his investigation into the cause of the incident while visiting some of the hundreds of students who were displaced.

The Cube student block had been part of earlier reviews by the mayor’s High Rise Taskforce in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire but the section of the building where Friday’s blaze began was too low to fall within the remit of this team.

Despite this, Mr Burnham said experts had registered worries about the block.

“There were concerns expressed about this building but technically it didn’t fall within the work of the high-rise taskforce because it was a little bit lower than what was deemed high-rise — so this is part of the investigation,” he said.

“I know there was a lot of conversations going on between Bolton Council and GMFRS with regards to the building and its design — some of that only became apparent after the fire so when the inspection was done in 2017 some of the compartmentalisation in the building was not understood and it was only when the fire happened that that revealed some of the design flaws in the building.

“There’s a need for a whole-scale review of what risks this building posed and what has been done to rectify them.”

Now, fire crews and police have opened investigations into the cause of a fire which began at around 8.30pm and caused the evacuation of nearly 220 students.

Mr Burnham said the incident raised questions about the cladding used on the building and the regulation of similar properties in future.

“We can’t leap to any conclusions about the cause of the fire or why it spread so quickly but what we can say is that the cladding clearly played a major role in the rapid spread of the fire,” he said.

“We’ve heard this morning that it was about 20 minutes from when the fire first broke out to the top floor being ablaze so the spread was rapid and it’s only because of the efforts of the students and GMFRS with the evacuation procedure that tragedy was averted but the spread of this fire was very frightening.”

The Mayor was not the only political figure to visit the town yesterday in the wake of the tower block fire.

He was followed by Home Secretary Priti Patel who travelled directly to the Cube to survey the carnage left by the flames.

The senior minister — who is currently on the campaign trail ahead of the December election — spoke with veteran firefighters at the scene, including assistant chief fire officer Tom Hunter who helps to run the High Rise Taskforce.

Ms Patel was tight-lipped about claims that her government could have done more to prevent the fire but spent some time speaking with firefighters who helped who battle the blaze.