Plans to strip a private housing development in Greenwich of its Grenfell-like cladding have finally been submitted following a lengthy row between developers and insurers over who foots the bill.
An application to remove the ACM cladding lining New Capital Quay has been submitted to Greenwich Council six months after insurers National House Building Council agreed to pay for the work. The cladding is similar to that used at Grenfell Tower, North Kensington, where a fire in June 2017 led to 72 deaths.
Terrified residents across 11 blocks were left in limbo last year after it was revealed Galliard Housing and the NHBC could not agree over who would pay.
Residents in the development, next to Deptford Creek, were facing a share of a bill of up to £40m for cladding on top of round-the-clock fire wardens.
Councillor Mehboob Khan, ward councillor for Greenwich West, said signs of progress were welcome.
“Residents who live in in Europe’s largest site with the dangerous cladding have had to endure 18 months of uncertainty, huge worry and anxiety,” he said.
“So there is relief that they are seeing signs of progress, but dismay that a planning application wasn’t submitted in the summer – it was pretty obvious that the cladding would have to be replaced and this could have sped things up and the developers could have started work now.
“However this whole saga has been stop and start, at every turn there have been unforeseen events slowing down replacement.
“It seems now there is light at the end of the tunnel and with this applicaiton we hope that soon works can start in earnest.”
Some living at New Capital Quay had been preparing legal action against the housing giants and insurers, but put that on hold after it was announced in July that NHBC would accept the claim.
Council leader Danny Thorpe said at the time: “This decision regarding New Capital Quay is extremely welcome and long overdue.
“The residents affected by ACM cladding have been put under an enormous strain and this council, along with local MP Matthew Pennycook and our local ward councillors, have supported their calls for the blocks to be replaced with new safe cladding.”
The payout will cover all 992 flats, 344 of which are social housing.
New Capital Quay is believed to be the biggest development with Grenfell-type cladding with 2,000 residents.
The application to strip the cladding will be considered by officers at the council.
A Freedom of Information request to Greenwich Council revealed last year that 223 privately-owned blocks have been investigated since the Grenfell fire.
Since 2012, 28 buildings in the borough have been found to have unfit cladding.
Tom Bull is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich. The Local Democracy Reporter Scheme is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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