Newham MPs urge housing secretary to address ongoing cladding problems in the borough
PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 July 2020
Newham MPs Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms have written to housing secretary Robert Jenrick to express concerns regarding ongoing cladding issues in the borough.
The letter — co-signed by the pair — was written in response to a recent finding that around 2,000 buildings remain covered with flammable cladding, three years on from Grenfell.
Both members of parliament highlight that Newham has many buildings that are deemed “high risk”, before voicing their residents’ frustration at the “slow pace of government support”.
As a prime example, they outline the worrying situation at Forest Gate’s Lumiere Building: “A report previously found that five different types of cladding used on its exterior — including Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) — did not conform to building regulations.
“It will cost around £30,000 per leaseholder for the removal and replacement of the cladding. A planning application has been made for the remedial works, but this has been delayed due to Covid-19.
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“The managing agent believes that one application, to the ACM fund, is sufficient to access the non-ACM fund too, but the leaseholders are concerned this may not be the case — and that delay may mean the non-ACM fund is exhausted before they can access it.”
Such delays could prove fatal, as evidenced by the recent fire at Ferrier Point in Canning Town, in which 100 people were evacuated: “Thankfully, Newham Council removed the cladding on this building last year, but it is haunting to imagine what might have happened if this had not been the case.”
The letter also pays reference to specific problems in West Ham, where properties under the management of One Housing Group, L&Q, Triathlon and FirstPort are still facing major delays in replacing “potentially lethal cladding”.
Ms Brown and Mr Timms believe the situation “has been allowed to drag on” due to squabbles over responsibility and a shortage of available funding.
Though welcome, they say the government’s £1 billion Building Safety Fund — to remove dangerous cladding — is “not enough”.
With this issue described as one of “increasing, not diminishing, concern” for Newham residents, both MPs urge the government to extend the fund to all high-risk buildings.
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