Richmond & Merton among UK’s slowest to remove Grenfell-style cladding

Fewer than half of buildings with flammable cladding in Merton and Richmond have replaced the dangerous cladding material used on Grenfell Tower, according to new data.

Following the 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower, the government ordered owners of all buildings with flammable aluminium composite material (ACM) to replace the cladding.

According to new figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), only one-third of buildings nationally have done so, including fewer than half of ACM-fitted buildings in Richmond upon Thames and Merton.

Twickenham MP Sarah Olney said: “Homeowners who own flats in buildings with cladding should make sure they know the current situation in their blocks with regards to whether the cladding is deemed flammable, and what steps are being taken to remediate.

“Landlords should engage with MHCLG about support available for remediating cladding, as there are funds available that haven’t been spent.”

Last month, Olney co-authored a report by the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee which criticised the housing department for “unacceptably slow progress” in overseeing landlords’ efforts to replace the Grenfell-style cladding.

Causes of the slow progress include an absence of government pressure on inactive building owners and economic uncertainties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Although Richmond and Merton contain only a small handful of ACM-fitted buildings – no more than 5 each – landlords in the borough have the worst record for replacing the cladding as listed by the housing department’s latest figures.

Richmond Council said the borough doesn’t own any buildings fitted with ACM but is collaborating with private landlords to remediate flammable cladding.

A spokesman added that Richmond Council is waiting for further correspondence from the MHCLG and notes that the data in the table leaves no room for context or detail with its figures.

They said: “The council knows of one commercial property in the borough with a small amount of ACM cladding and the council is in conversation with the owner concerning the management of the building.”

Due to raised fears about arson in the event that a building was identified as ACM-fitted, the housing department did not offer a list of vulnerable buildings but rather publishes figures tallied by local authority.

Richmond and Merton’s slow progress is matched by London boroughs Harrow, Newham and Bromley.

However, landlords in Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Hillingdon, Waltham Forest and neighbouring Kingston have completed replacement on all buildings which were fitted with ACM.

Croydon Council has previously asked central Government for more funding to deal with post-Grenfell safety renovations.

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Richmond & Merton among UK’s slowest to remove Grenfell-style cladding – Birmingham Leaseholder Action Group (BrumLAG)
13 October 2020 10:24 am

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