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Government put under pressure to set cladding removal deadline

The Government was today called upon to set a deadline for when all Grenfell-style cladding on high-rise developments must be removed. 

Tower Hamlets Council called upon the government to set a nationwide deadline to remove Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding, as part of a new Building Safety Pledge which also calls for the costs of this work to be covered by building owners, developers or the government - and not by the affected leaseholders. 

Tower Hamlets in London’s East End is home to the largest number of tower blocks in the country, with many blocks needing work to remove combustible cladding, following the Grenfell tragedy four years ago.   

In May, 20 fire engines had to attend a fire which broke out in an 8th floor flat of New Providence Wharf – a 19-story privately-owned block of flats, partly cladded in ACM. 

To date, a total of 293 bids from building owners in Tower Hamlets have been made to the Government’s building safety fund to help finance the works, followed by Manchester (144), Newham (138) and Westminster (125). 

The Tower Hamlets Building Safety Pledge, launched this morning (July, 22) sets out what the council is able to do using its powers and what it needs partners to do to ensure residents are safe.  

The pledge comes ahead of a virtual Ask the Mayor event where affected residents can put questions directly to John Biggs, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Richard Tapp, Borough Commander, London Fire Brigade, and Will Manning, Director of Asset Management, Tower Hamlets Homes. 

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:  

“Everyone has the right to feel safe in their own homes, but many don’t feel safe as four years after the Grenfell tragedy, we are still no nearer to a Government-set date for all unsafe cladding to be removed from blocks, with part of the hold up being who should foot the bill.  

“We are using all our available resources to bring building owners to the table and to emphasise the need for co-operation and action, but there is a limit to the powers we have at our disposal, which is why we need the Government to take action and provide some clarity, so that our residents and others elsewhere who live in ACM cladded blocks can feel safe in their own homes.” 

Cllr Eve McQuillan, Cabinet Member for Planning and Social Inclusion, said: 

“I’ve met residents who have suffered stress and anxiety because they are living in a potentially unsafe building, and others who saved and stretched to get on the housing ladder and are now living in a worthless property.  

“It is distressing and should not continue. Our pledge sets out what we can do and what we need others to do to start to put an end to this problem that unfairly effects our borough.” 

Read the full pledge at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/buildingsafetypledge
Posted on Thursday 22nd July 2021