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Housing minister fires cladding warning at developers

10 September 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

The secretary of state for housing, James Brokenshire, has written to around 60 property owners and developers warning them of fines and other sanctions if they do not get on and remove unsafe cladding from buildings.

Brokenshire said developers needed to "do the right thing" and remove unsafe cladding from buildings or face enforcement action from their council. He argued that there was a "moral imperative" for the companies to act and not leave leaseholders to cover the cost.

Brokenshire told the Press Association: “A number of leading developers have stepped up to the mark and agreed to pay for work, and we urge others to follow their lead. If they don’t, we have not ruled anything out.

“I am also warning those who are not acting quickly enough to put in plans to remove dangerous cladding to take action now, or face enforcement action from their council.”

The government has identified 293 private sector residential buildings as having aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding systems that are unlikely to meet current building regulations.

Some developers have already pledged to cover the cost of replacement cladding. In April this year, Barratt Developments announced it was to pay the cost of recladding the Citiscape development in Croydon despite a ruling that the residents would have to pay.

Meanwhile, Taylor Wimpey has made a £30m provision in its accounts to pay for replacement cladding on buildings it has constructed in the past.

Legal & General and Mace have also agreed to pay the cost of remedial works on projects, while in August housing association Peabody said it would foot the bill for re-cladding on behalf of its residents living in private blocks.

Elsewhere though, residents have ended up facing the prospect of having to pay. In July, the leaseholders of two Manchester blocks of flats discovered they would have to pay £3m to replace cladding on Cypress Place and Vallea Court after losing their case at a tribunal. Lendlease was the original developer for Cypress Place and Vallea Court in the Green Quarter. The 345 flats were designed and built by Shepherd Construction and were completed in 2013, before Lendlease sold the freehold to investment firm Pemberstone in 2015.

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