Grenfell Tower: Residents across UK billed £80,000 to ditch 'dangerous' cladding

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Residents are facing demands for thousands of pounds to replace potentially lethal cladding on their homes.

A £200million government fund set up to pay for the removal of the ACM cladding used on Grenfell Tower does not cover other flammable materials.

And developers are refusing to shoulder the blame for building firetrap tower blocks.

The removal of flammable cladding from all tower blocks and public buildings is a key demand of the Mirror’s Grenfell Never Again campaign.

Katie Peate, 28, and her partner Warren Bolas, 29, face a £80,000 bill as part of a £4.6million refit to replace timber cladding on their flats in Burton Place, Manchester.

They bought their £220,000 flat in March 2017, unaware the building had F-grade insulation, the most combustible rating.

Katie who formed campaign group Cladiators, said: “The timber cladding is all over and we’re told the insulation is even more combustible than that on Grenfell.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen and we’re being forced into paying huge sums we can in no way afford.”

Amy Du Quesme and fiance James Oates were told they would have to pay £22,000 to replace their cladding

Mourners at the second anniversary Grenfell memorial event in London

 

A spokeswoman for Urban Splash, which developed Burton Place in 2005, said the block complied with building regulations.

Amy Du Quesme and fiance James Oates bought a flat in the 11-storey Skyline Central 1 in Manchester in May 2016.

It has High Pressure Laminate cladding, which they were told was unsafe last year. In February, they were told they would have to pay £22,000, their share of the £2million needed to replace the cladding.

On June 7, they were told the total had risen by £300,000, and the bill for residents could continue to rise without consultation.

Amy, 32, said: “We’ve made it very clear we do not have the money to pay.”

The firm demanding the money is HomeGround. William Astor, pictured right, the half brother of David Cameron’s wife Samantha, is a partner in the company.

HomeGround said it was seeking a VAT concession to cut costs, which they admitted “may present a financial burden” to leaseholders.

Ritu Saha lives in Northpoint in Bromley, Kent, a block covered in both ACM and HPL cladding.

The fire at the 24-storey block killed 72 people

 

HPL was used in panels that helped spread a fire in Lakanal House, Camberwell, south London, in 2009, killing six people.

Northpoint residents applied for help from the £200million fund, but it does not cover the cost of replacing HPL.

Ritu said: “The lessons from Lakanal were not learned and they are not being learned from Grenfell. There are 93 private residential buildings across the country with ACM where the developer or building owner is not going to finance it.”

She said it would cost up to £3million to remove the ACM cladding at Northpoint.

She said: “We don’t feel the government fund will be enough. We bought these properties in good faith, thinking we would be safe. So many developers have cut corners while we feel the government has not taken the seriousness of the issue on board. The debate is now, ‘Who will pay?’ rather than how to keep people safe.

“We have had great support from Grenfell United, and we’re very mindful of the fact that whatever our problems may be, it pales in comparison to the plight they have suffered.”

Northpoint is owned by Citistead. A spokeswoman said it was not involved in installing the cladding, which “was undertaken in line with building regulations”.

Citistead is owned by the family trust of Vincent Tchenguiz, which also owns Citiscape, whose block in Croydon, South London, was found to have unsafe cladding.

A message projected onto the NV Building in Salford, Greater Manchester, ahead of the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire

Developer Barratt Homes agreed to fund that refit. Northpoint’s developer is thought to have been the now-defunct Alfred McAlpine Homes.

In Manchester, the City Gate complex is applying for funding to remove ACM cladding.

Developer Bellway Homes is the same firm that built a block in Barking, East London, which went up in flames on Sunday when a wooden balcony caught fire.

City Gate residents say Bellway is refusing to pay to remove ACM, despite £377million half-year profits. Alex Di Giuseppe, 29, said: “We just want to get to a point where we’re safe in our homes.”

A Bellway spokeswoman said the firm was “reviewing” other developments after the Barking fire and would be “guided by expert advisors in this regard”.

Sam Cole, 28, lives in another of City Gate’s blocks, which has a large amount of wooden panels similar to those on the Barking flats.

He said: “I saw how quickly the fire spread in Barking. It must have been terrifying.”

The Mirror has launched its Grenfell: Never Again campaign

Our petition demands

1 Remove inflammable cladding from all tower blocks and public buildings.

2 Retrofit sprinklers in high rises and schools

3 Ensure tenants are given a real voice

4 Reverse the cuts to the firefighter numbers and Fire Safety Officers

5 New independent national body to oversee standards and best practices in fire service across the country.

Sign the petition: Grenfell Never Again: Keep our buildings safe

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Grenfell: Never Again



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