The developer behind west Greenwich blocks covered in Grenfell-like cladding has denied claims it has ceased safety work and stopped replying to residents’ emails.
Galliard Homes has hit out at “extraordinary” comments made during last night’s Greenwich Council meeting over New Capital Quay, which is thought to be Europe’s largest development with flammable cladding.
For months following the Grenfell fire, residents were left in limbo living in homes lined with deadly material that neither insurer or developer were accepting responsibility over.
A breakthrough came last summer when the National House Building Council, which insured the development, agreed to pay for Galliard’s work. This was followed months later by a planning application that failed to cover the whole site – leaving out one apartment block.
Greenwich West ward councillor Mehboob Khan claims Galliard is now keeping residents in the dark over timings to rectify the buildings – work that could take longer than the development took to originally build.
He told fellow councillors last night: “New Capital Quay is the largest site in Europe with the wrong type of cladding. It houses in excess of 2,000 residents. Galliard have a track record of failing to keep their promises and meeting residents’ expectations.
“Last year they were not able to convince residents they had obtained planning permission until the council intervened. They also failed to include a significant block, so a second planning application had to be submitted.
“Recently, they have started work on the replacement cladding, choosing to start on one of the tallest blocks, and at the top rather than the bottom. The poor residents in those flats have had no insulation for four weeks and all work ceased a month ago.
“Galliard are refusing to enter into dialogue of a meaningful nature with residents, refusing to reply to emails – residents are extremely anxious as this is an accident waiting to happen.
“The timetable they have given is five years to replace the cladding on a site that took less than that to build from foundation to fitting out the dwellings. This is inappropriate and scandalous.”
Residents in the development, which has 980 homes across 12 blocks, are reportedly planning to sue Galliard over a series of mistakes and delays.
The council’s cabinet member for growth, Sizwe James, said: “When this situation first arose it was the council that brokered a situation where there was to be a plan to remedy the cladding within a two-year timeframe at no cost to residents.
“In terms of the latest flare-up, Matt Pennycook MP, as have the council, has been in dialogue with the key stakeholders. We are pushing for a meeting to unlock this deadlock.
“There are lots of emails flying about talking about people suing people, but I think we need to calmly and rationally get people together to progress this matter in a sensible way.
“We don’t want to open a can of worms for residents – we are going to get a meeting together to look for a solution that works for everyone.”
In response, Galliard denied the “extraordinary” claims outright, adding: “We would expect that there must be some rational reason why Cllr Khan made those comments, as we do not believe he would deliberately make false statements to the council.
“Galliard confirms that it has not received any correspondence or communication in any form from Cllr Khan on the issues raised or indeed any other matter in 2019.”
Tom Bull is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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