'Grenfell Tower'-type cladding still not removed from New Providence Wharf after 3 years
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Deadly fire-risk cladding still hasn’t been taken off the New Providence Wharf development near Canary Wharf three and a half years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy which claimed 72 lives, a government report reveals this week.
The Housing Ministry splashed out £200m in 2019 for aluminium composite material to be removed from 170 privately-owned towers across the UK to make them safe.
The cladding is similar to material which caused flames to spread rapidly up the side of Grenfell Tower in west London in 2017.
One of the 14 companies named this week as having failed to remove cladding on private developments is Landor Residential, a listed subsidiary of Ballymore developers which built New Providence on the Thames waterfront at Blackwall.
Work hasn't yet started on 38 privately-owned high rises including New Providence — even though Whitehall cash was available two years ago, it has emerged.
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Work on the horseshoe-shaped New Providence Wharf is complicated as it faces directly onto the river and its apartments are occupied by more than 1,000 residents, the company stressed.
“To replace elements of a facade under these circumstances is an extensive process,” Ballymore says in a statement. “We have a project team in place which has already committed months of work to arrive at a workable and cost-effective solution.” The project is “well underway” and the company anticipates starting on site in April.
The mayor of Tower Hamlets and the two East End MPs campaigned in 2019 for the government to put pressure on private developers to “do the right thing” and replace the cladding, the East London Advertiser reported at the time. The government eventually stepped in and put up the cash to get the work done.
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A fire safety survey on all 900 council blocks in the East End was carried out by the town hall after the Grenfell blaze, showing 10 high-rises with similar dangerous cladding including Whitechapel’s 23-storey Denning Point and six blocks on Bethnal Green’s Cranbrook Estate, all built in the 1960s.
But any cladding removal wouldn't include private developments, leaving home-owners in New Providence Wharf at risk. They are now being assured that work will start in two months’ time.