Soaring cladding bills 'shatter' tower block residents

Removing cladding at Burton Place could cost thousands

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Residents of private tower blocks covered in flammable cladding have told talkRADIO the soaring cost of removing it has "shattered" them.

Leaseholders at City Gate in Manchester were quoted £380 each in October 2018. That rose to £7,000 in February 2019 and then to £30,000 in July.

Alex Di Giuseppe, who lives in the block, said: "There's a level of depression and anxiety that's building. When you're stressful [sic] you don't eat, you don't excercise. Its' a very testing time."

In May, the government set aside £200m to pay for Grenfell-type cladding (ACM) to be replaced on private high-rises.

City Gate has a mix of both ACM and non-ACM, so can only recoup some of the cost.

Nearby Burton Place has timber cladding. Resident Natasha Foulkes has been given four removal options, ranging from £8,000 to £44,000.

Some of her neighbours in larger flats are facing bills of up to £80,000 and all of them are unable to sell their apartments

"I want to get married and to have kids but that's just not looking likely right now", she told talkRADIO. "And if I did have kids I'd have to bring them up in a flammable flat."

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said he feels "very sorry" for people living in dangerous tower blocks.

"We are working closely with banks and insurance companies to manage this situation so that people can continue to get insurance, can continue to get mortgages and can sell their properties", he added.

The government's £200m fund has been criticised by residents for covering ACM (aluminium composite material) cladding only and for being insufficient for that purpose.

When it was announced, 176 private buildings had been identified as having ACM. The bill to remove all cladding on City Gate comes to over £10m.

Conservative MP Kit Malthouse, who was Housing Minister at the time, told talkRADIO: "We thought £200m would be enough."

Miss Foulkes said: "If another building on the scale of Grenfell burnt to pieces, with non-ACM cladding, maybe they would reconsider. But as long as there's only one Grenfell they won't."

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