One council given £80m of cladding funding
CAMDEN COUNCIL was given £80m of the £248m allocated by the government towards the removal and replacement of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding on council high rises.
Recently, the government released £248m of the promised £400m to councils and housing association for removing and replacing combustible ACM cladding. In May this year, Prime Minister Theresa May committed to spending around £400m to pay for removal of flammable cladding from local authority and housing association high rises.
Later on in 2018, it was revealed that the funding for the removal would come from funds allocated for affordable housing. The £248m of the £400m was promised to 12 councils and 31 housing associations for the removal and replacement of ACM cladding from 135 buildings, with the government stating that the release ‘is the first tranche’ of funding to help bodies ‘make their properties safe without having an impact on their other vital services’.
Having received applications for 159 buildings, 135 from the councils and housing associations numbered above have been approved, with the government having ‘requested more information’ for 12 applications. This will be reviewed alongside any others received in December, with 12 other applications ‘not eligible for funding because they didn’t meet the application criteria’. Despite a nominal deadline of 31 August, applications received after will still be reviewed.
The government noted that this was because ‘there is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their homes’, adding that due to work ongoing and costs only being estimates, 80% of the costs will be ‘provided upfront’ so that work ‘can start with no delay’. All work will be ‘closely monitored’ by the government, with the other 20% paid once works are complete and final costs are known.
Construction News stated that the rejections were due to buildings being under 18m, owned by commercial freeholders or not having ACM cladding, while government data released also revealed that over 75% of social housing with ACM cladding is currently seeing the material being removed and replaced ‘with plans in place for the remaining 25%’.
Inside Housing has now reported that Camden Council has received £80m of the total funding to remove ACM cladding from its high rises, with the council stating that funding will cover work being undertaken at the Chalcots Estate, which has seen ACM cladding removed but also has issues with curtain walling and windows. It was however ‘not clear’ if some of the money would also cover the cost of evacuating the estate, the waking watch installed, or high fuel bills while the site is unclad.
Council papers had also suggested that the entire series of works on that estate’s five towers would cost between £50m and £56m, and residents have been sent a letter that said the council can complete the work ‘without impacting our wider programme of improvement and refurbishment of the rest of our housing stock, or our programme to build new council homes.
Georgia Gould, leader of Camden Council, said: ‘We are delighted to announce we have secured £80m from the government, which pays for the re-cladding and new curtain wall at the Chalcots as well as boosting our wider safety programme. We would like to thank all the residents who worked with us to make the case to government and reiterate our determination to ensure we follow through on our commitment for a new standard of resident safety.’