Barnet Post

Thousands still affected by cladding issues in Barnet

Calls for government to go further in its help for struggling residents

Hero for Thousands still affected by cladding issues in Barnet
Cladding being replaced on a tower block
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter  
  @BarnetPost

More than 5,000 residents and at least 38 buildings in Barnet could be affected by potentially dangerous cladding materials, new figures suggest.

The opposition Labour group carried out an analysis of official figures and estimated the local impact of cladding issues, which have left some leaseholders unable to sell their homes and facing huge bills for repair work.

Tighter fire safety guidelines brought in after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 mean some cladding materials used to cover the walls of buildings now need to be replaced. In February, the Post reported that scores of residents in Colindale remained 'frustrated' at government efforts to tackle the crisis.

In Barnet, there have been 37 registrations for the government fund set up to support the remediation of potentially dangerous non-aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. There are also between one and five buildings with ACM cladding systems that are unlikely to meet building regulations and are yet to be remediated.

Based on the figures, Labour estimates 5,290 residents in the borough are affected by cladding issues.

Barnet Council has met with residents to discuss their concerns over cladding. Issues raised during the meeting included how to ensure those in affected buildings had been contacted about cladding problems, as many only find out when they come to sell.

Residents also urged housing associations not to pass all the extra costs on to leaseholders when there is no government funding available to replace cladding.

Ross Houston, the Labour group's deputy leader and housing and growth spokesperson, thanked residents for their campaigning and called on the council to continue meeting with them until all the cladding problems had been resolved.

Anne Clarke, a Childs Hill councillor and Labour’s candidate for Barnet and Camden in the upcoming London Assembly elections, said the cost of remedial repair work is “financially ruinous for many”.

“Ultimately, the government needs to ensure that these buildings are safe and that leaseholders don’t foot the bill,” she added.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced in February the government would directly fund the remediation of all unsafe cladding for buildings over 18 metres high, while a government-backed loan scheme would be set up to help those in buildings below 18 metres to ensure leaseholders do not pay more than £50 a month.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We are bringing forward the biggest improvements to building and fire safety in a generation, including through a comprehensive £5billion plan to help protect hundreds of thousands of leaseholders from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes.

“This government has been clear that building safety is the responsibility of the building owner and they should meet the costs of remediation without passing them on to leaseholders wherever possible.”

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