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Cost of Chalcots Estate evacuation and cladding removal estimated at £31m

PUBLISHED: 15:38 21 November 2017

Tower blocks on the Chalcots estate range from 18-storeys up to 22. Picture: ANNA BEHRMANN

Tower blocks on the Chalcots estate range from 18-storeys up to 22. Picture: ANNA BEHRMANN

Archant

The emergency evacuation of the Chalcots Estate and subsequent repairs have cost taxpayers £31million, it has been revealed.

As reported in the Ham&High, the four tower blocks in Adelaide Road, were evacuated suddenly in June in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The cladding on the outside of the Chalcots buildings, which was installed by Rydon the same firm that worked on Grenfell Tower, was found to be flammable and conditions inside were said to be unsafe by the London Fire Brigade.

Thousands of residents from more than 700 flats were evacuated from the blocks when the fire brigade said it could not guarantee their safety.

The full cost was revealed at a Camden Council meeting last night following a question by Labour’s Gospel Oak councillor, Marcus Boyland.

In response, Labour cabinet member for Finance and Transformation Richard Olszweski said that of the total £31m spend:

* The evacuation costs, where residents were forced to stay in temporary hotel accommodation, were £12.5m,

* Urgent repairs, including new fire doors cost £9m,

* Removal of unsafe cladding added up to £9.5m.

The removal of the cladding is due to be completed in December, with the council consulting residents about the new cladding which will replace it.

Cllr Olszweski is now calling on the government to meet the costs.

He said: “Following the tragic events at Grenfell, the council were faced with the situation at the Chalcots. From the outset we stated that the costs needed to be met by central government, either by funding to us or by flexibility on housing budget.”

Without central government support, around £17m will come from Camden’s existing housing budget. Approximately £13m will come from borrowing, receipts and re-allocating funds from other parts of the budget.

Cllr Olszweski continued: “We think we’re justified in the government mitigating impacts of this cost. We are waiting for a meeting with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and then we’ll learn if they will help us, which they should.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, Conservative Belsize councillor Leila Roy also asked Camden Council leader Georgia Gould whether residents were able to view the fire safety reports for the tower blocks.

Cllr Gould responded by pointing out that some are currently available on Camden Council’s Open Data website.

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