Private cladding removal responsibility ‘rests with councils’
LORD NICK Bourne stated in the House of Lords that the responsibility for removing cladding from privately owned buildings ‘rest with councils’, while also noting some still remains on council towers.
Inside Housing and Safety and Health Practitioner reported on Lord Bourne’s testimony in the House of Lords, as under secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). He stated first that dangerous cladding still remains on 44 council or housing association high rises, with work completed on or begun on 116 such buildings. There were ‘plans and commitments’ to remove it from the 44 remaining buildings, however.
In terms of privately owned buildings, he stated that there were plans in place to remove and replace combustible cladding from 203 such high rises, but that there are another 69 that have no plans or commitments in place. He also later stated that the ‘ultimate responsibility’ for removing cladding on such buildings ‘rests with local authorities’, despite a range of building owners and developers agreeing to pay costs and the government giving councils new legal powers to do the work and then bill building owners for costs.
However, once this had been confirmed, the government also admitted that the process could take ‘months if not years’ to undertake, freeholders were ‘still likely’ to pass costs on to leaseholders, and councils were ‘unlikely to recover the full costs’. So far, the government has not provided ‘any direct financial assistance’ to councils for removing cladding from private blocks, with plans to ensure cladding was covered by guidance.