Government action demanded over cladding complex
LOCAL COUNCILLOR Mehboob Khan called for the government to fund removal of ‘potentially lethal’ cladding at New Capital Quay in Greenwich.
Earlier this year, the complex, found to have ‘multiple’ fire safety issues, saw residents concerned they would have to pay an estimated £20m to £40m bill, or around £20,000 to £40,000 per flat to resolve issues and remove cladding. Developers Galliard Homes planned to sue the National House Building Council (NHBC) over payment, while resident Cecile Langevin discovered her flat’s value had fallen from £475,000 to £50,000 as a result.
It later transpired that government body Homes England ‘agreed to virtually wipe out’ her loan, which ‘raises the prospect of multimillion-pound losses for the government scheme on any flat that goes into negative equity’. Residents of New Capital Quay are also considering legal action against Galliard Homes over combustible cladding replacement costs.
News Shopper reported on Mr Khan’s demand that the government cover the costs of the ‘nightmarish’ situation, and ‘then claim it back from developers’, as the ‘potentially lethal cladding’ on the buildings there means it is ‘thought to be one of the UK’s largest developments that has been found to have flammable cladding’.
Prime Minister Theresa May recently committed to spending around £400m to pay for the removal of flammable cladding from local authority and housing association high rises, and Mr Khan, who represents Greenwich West, said ‘more should be done to help residents’ in situations similar to New Capital Quay.
He stated: “Warm words from the Government are disappointing, residents on New Capital Quay have had enough of platitudes from ministers and after waiting many months, are demanding concrete action. The £400m for removal of cladding on public housing does not help residents in New Capital Quay. Residents insist the government should cover the costs of removing the cladding and reclaim this back from the developers.
‘People are living in a nightmarish scenario and the government has not shown any leadership in tackling their safety concerns.’
Matthew Pennycook, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, pressed Housing Secretary James Brokenshire on the situation in parliamen, stating: ‘Like others I welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement that he will rule nothing out when it comes to forcing action on private freehold developments such as New Capital Quay in Greenwich.
‘That does represent progress, but can I test whether the Secretary of State understands the urgent need to break the impasse on such developments? Leaseholders are not only living with the anxiety, about the long term costs of remediation, and the daily mounting costs of interim fire measures, and the fear that they live in homes still surrounded by lethal material.’
Mr Brokenshire replied: ‘I do understand the point that [Matthew Pennycook] makes about not just the uncertainty, but the costs on interim measures that may be put in place. And, I will say that we have seen one developer in Croydon that has done the right thing, Barratt Homes told residents of the Cityscape flats that they will cover fire safety and cladding costs and I think the message is that others should be doing the same.’