£3.5bn to replace 'Grenfell-type' cladding on towers like New Providence
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More government cash is now on tap to get rid of dangerous cladding on privately-owned tower blocks like New Providence Wharf near Canary Wharf.
It means leaseholders won’t be slapped with bills for building safety work, following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has told MPs in the Commons that an additional £3.5billion to remove unsafe cladding from high-rise and medium-rise buildings was being made available, while a levy on developers building certain new tower blocks was being brought in.
It follows three years of pressure by campaigners and local authorities like Tower Hamlets to get rid of cladding that’s not fire-resistant, which caused the rapid spread of the Grenfell Tower blaze in west London that cost 72 lives.
The cladding still hadn’t been taken off New Providence Wharf, Blackwall, three-and-a-half years after, a government report revealed last month, in spite of £200m being available from the Housing Ministry in 2019.
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One of 14 companies named as having failed to remove cladding was Landor Residential, a subsidiary of Ballymore developers which built New Providence on the Thames waterfront.
Work on the horseshoe-shaped complex was said to be complicated by its riverfront location and all its apartments being occupied by 1,000 residents, the company stressed.
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Ballymore has a project team in place already committed to months of work for “a workable and cost-effective solution”. 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 press 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 and has now boosted the funds by another £3.5bn.
A fire safety survey on all 900 council blocks in the East End was carried out soon after the Grenfell blaze, showing 10 high-rises with similar 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 didn’t include private developments, until now.