Leaseholders to protest against “mountainous bills” from cladding costs in Greenwich

Leaseholders are coming together in Greenwich this Saturday to protest unaffordable bills caused by unsafe cladding.

The protest will be held outside The River Gardens housing development sales office on Banning Street at 11am.

The development is being built by Bellway Homes, who own a number of buildings affected by the cladding crisis.

Leaseholders are protesting against the overwhelming costs of fixing fire defects in their homes, which are caused by insufficient regulation, developers cutting corners, or  non-compliance with regulations at the time they were built. 

An affected leaseholder of an apartment built by Bellway and national coordinator of the protests, said: “Everyone has abandoned us – the government, the developers, the freeholders. 

“The funding that the government has offered is not adequate and in most cases people are not eligible for it anyway. Meanwhile, we and our fellow leaseholders are facing mountainous bills and people are at risk of bankruptcy, mental health deterioration or worse.”

Leaseholders are also responsible for paying for interim measures such as the ineffective waking watch, or retrospective fire alarm fitting. 

These costs run into tens of thousands of pounds per flat and the bills are usually payable within 28 days. 

Tanya Murat, from housing campaign group Homes for All, said: “June 14 will be the four-year anniversary of the Grenfell fire where 72 people died as a result of a building industry that routinely put profit before safety and an unaccountable landlord backed by a totally inadequate regulatory regime. None of this has changed. Instead, there are up to 11m people still living in buildings that could kill them. 

“Leaseholders should not be forced to pay for cladding removal and fire remediation. Developers made millions in profits from this system, now they must pay to make these buildings safe.”

A spokesman for Bellway Homes said: “Bellway takes fire safety at our developments extremely seriously and has invested significant resources into addressing this issue. We fully appreciate at the heart of the issue is the need to ensure leaseholders and residents feel safe in their homes and we are keen to make sure that we are doing all we can. 

“Since 2017, Bellway has committed £131.6 million to make fire safety improvements where we remain responsible, or provided help to the building owners of legacy schemes where we have remaining legal responsibility to do so, to cover the costs of any interim fire safety measures, or to ensure any necessary surveys, tests and required remediation works are carried out.”

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said: “We know many people are worried – which is why our priority is making sure residents are safe and feel safe in their homes by removing dangerous cladding from the highest risk buildings as quickly as possible backed by over £5 billion.

“We have been clear throughout that owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders – and we will ensure they pay for the mistakes of the past with a new levy and tax to contribute to the costs of remediation.”


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