New Capital Quay
New Capital Quay has 980 homes – many clad with flammable materials

Vital funding announced by the Government today to replace flammable lining wrapped around more then 170 buildings will lead to a “cladding lottery”, an action group has warned.

Nearly two years after 72 people died in a fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, 28 buildings in Greenwich borough still have combustible cladding.

New Capital Quay, in west Greenwich, is thought to be the country’s biggest development with the cladding, with the material also in place at nearby Babbage Point and further east at City Peninsula.

Today’s announcement comes following months of campaigning and rising pressure from fire action safety groups operating under the umbrella UK Cladding Action Group.

The group, spearheaded by homeowners from Bromley’s 10-storey Northpoint tower, along with other affected buildings nationally, said on social media on Thursday morning: “While this will be a relief for thousands trapped in buildings with ACM cladding we must not forget the many, many leaseholders and social housing tenants living in blocks with other forms of unsafe cladding who will be excluded from this help.

“Fire does not distinguish between the different types of failed cladding out there. This inadequate response will be looked back on in in shame when the next Grenfell tragedy occurs.

“The announcement effectively brands this is a cladding lottery. Life changing sums are still being demanded for interim fire measures. Some people win from today’s announcement. But many still lose.”

Today’s announcement that the Government will fully fund the removal of dangerous cladding on private blocks is welcome. Now time to force building owners to begin work immediately and to protect leaseholders from all associated costs. My question to @JBrokenshire this morning.

— Matthew Pennycook MP (@mtpennycook) May 9, 2019

Greenwich and Woolwich’s Labour MP Matt Pennycook, who has six development in his constituency that are blighted by dangerous cladding, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Residents living in blocks wrapped in deadly Grenfell-style cladding, like the thousands in my constituency, have had to suffer years of stress and strain, trapped in properties that cannot be sold.

“A number of private owners have done the right thing, but far too many have been too slow to act or have failed to act at all. A government loan fund is long overdue but welcome.

“Ministers must now act to ensure that those private building owners that have dragged their feet begin remedial work immediately and also to protect leaseholders from the significant costs of the interim fire safety measures that in many cases have been in place for a considerable amount of time as a result of a failure on the part of private building owners to take prompt action.”

Bromley and Chislehurst’s Conservative MP Bob Neill called the announcement “a significant step in the right direction, and one that stands testament to the hard work of everyone involved, not least the Northpoint residents”.

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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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