Updated: Wednesday, 1st April 2020 @ 9:43pm

'We're being made to pay': Green Quarter residents face £3MILLION bill to replace Grenfell Tower-style cladding

'We're being made to pay': Green Quarter residents face £3MILLION bill to replace Grenfell Tower-style cladding

| By Cameron Sinclair

Residents of two apartment blocks in Manchester’s Green Quarter are facing an estimated £3million bill to replace Grenfell Tower-style cladding – a figure they have been told could substantially increase if the insulation material is also found to be flammable.

The work to remove and replace the cladding on the apartments, which has been described as “more flammable than petrol” by the QC for Grenfell victims, is not due to start on one of the blocks until Spring 2019.

On June 14 last year 72 people died when Grenfell Tower in West London burst into flames after a kitchen fire on the fourth floor of the 23-storey tower block broke out just before 1am. 

Current estimates, which residents fear are more likely to go up than down, found that occupants could find themselves paying upwards of £10,000 each.

In addition, those living in the apartments of Vallea Court and Cypress Place were taken to a tribunal yesterday by investment firm and current freeholder of the buildings, Pemberstone, to rule on who is liable for the costs as per the lease.

Several previous tribunals brought against residents in this situation have ruled in favour of the freeholders.

The cost of the tribunal, including Pemberstone’s legal representation, is also expected to be paid by the residents, who had to start a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money needed for their own legal fees just to provide a response to the tribunal.

Green Quarter resident Simon Harrison said: “This isn’t our fault or responsibility, but we’re being made to pay.

“The developers put this cladding on and it’s not compliant, the council approved the cladding and it’s not compliant, and the landlord is making money hand over fist on this, and are not being human towards the residents caught in a fire trap until this cladding is sorted,” he said.

Residents have been told the tribunal decision could take more than six weeks.

A spokesman for Pemberstone commented: “We regard the safety of the residents as of paramount importance.

“We have undertaken a programme of inspections to identify the cladding which needs to be removed from the two buildings.

“Considerable work has been undertaken on the design and scoping out of the work that will be required to be carried out.

“This remains ongoing and will be completed as soon as possible. While it is difficult to comment directly due to the ongoing tribunal, its findings will provide an independent view on the responsibility for the cladding’s replacement costs.”

Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, has urged private sector freeholders to “do the right thing and take responsibility”, but no government rulings have followed.

Only three companies – Barratt Developments, Legal & General and Taylor Wimpey – have committed to cover the costs of cladding replacements for their homes.

No such offer has yet been made by Pemberstone or Lendlease, the multinational company who developed the original site.

A spokesperson for Lendlease said: “It would not be appropriate for Lendlease to comment on the tribunal as we were not involved, are not the building owners, and have had no involvement with the buildings for almost a decade.”

Katie Kelly, another resident of the Green Quarter apartments, said: “Not only are big businesses failing to do the right thing, they are happily putting over 300 lives at risk.

“The way the whole situation has been handled – from taking us to a tribunal which we will likely have to pay for, to taking over a year to even begin work to make our homes safe – is crazy,” she said.

“I can’t understand how nobody from these businesses feels responsible.”

Image courtesy of Mikey via Flickr, with thanks.