MPs urge residents to 'make noise' about 'living hell' of flammable flats
- Credit: Brent and Camden Cladding Action Group
MPs have urged Camden and Brent leaseholders to protest as loudly as they can after they recounted the “living hell” of being stuck in flammable buildings.
Three MPs met online with dozens of constituents whose homes have been declared unsafe by fire experts.
Residents said they were trapped in unsellable homes and faced enormous bills to rectify the issues.
“I can’t stress enough that this is about noise,” Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, said.
He and others urged residents to keep campaigning in the meeting on the evening of March 16 – hours before the government passed a bill clamping down on the public’s right to protest.
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The government has announced £5billion of funding to help leaseholders with flammable cladding, but only those in buildings over 18 metres will be eligible.
People in buildings under 18 metres can apply for "low-interest loans", but it is unclear whether they will cover fire safety issues other than cladding, such as balconies.
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One speaker was Will Collier, who bought 25 per cent of a flat in West Hampstead Square but has since learned that flammable balconies and insulation must be replaced. His building is under 18 metres.
“There are nurses, teachers and disabled owners in my block who are in a situation where they may lose their entire investment,” he told the MPs.
“There’s around 800 residents across the development who face the prospect of bankruptcy whilst being trapped in dangerous buildings we are unable to leave...It's truly a living hell that we cannot escape.”
A Wembley woman said leaseholders in her development were being charged for a £37,000 per month waking watch - almost £4,000 per year, per flat.
They also faced a £300,000 bill for new fire alarms, plus the cost of replacing flammable cladding and balconies.
“I am precariously employed,” she said. “I have four part-time jobs. I don’t know how we are going to figure this out.”
Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central, said: “This government has an 80-seat majority so they’re not going to do anything because they care – because they don’t really care. But they will do something if enough pressure is applied.
“So the pressure that you apply - the campaign you’re running, the petitions you’ve created - all makes a huge, huge difference.”
Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq said members of her own family had been affected.
“You do have my deepest sympathies, but that’s not what you want,” she said. “What you want to see is action.
“The government should have done whatever it takes to end the cladding scandal, but instead it feels like it’s done whatever it can to get away with it – and many of you have paid the price.”
The Brent and Camden Cladding Action Group urged residents to lobby their MPs.
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