Manchester residents to sue over tower block cladding

Skyline building in Manchester city centre
Image caption The Skyline Central tower block in Manchester, which has HPL cladding, is not covered by the government fund

Residents of tower blocks with cladding “more combustible” than Grenfell Tower plan to sue the government for failing to keep them safe.

They say it is “unjust” some residents are not covered by the government’s £200m cladding removal fund.

Katie Peate, who lives in a block in Manchester with wooden cladding, has been given an £80,000 bill along with 98 other residents.

Seventy-two people died in the Grenfell Tower fire in west London in 2017.

Ms Peate, from Burton Place in Castlefield, said: “The government are putting some people’s safety above others.”

She said residents feel “stuck” with no option but to “call the government to account”.

She said she has been told the timber cladding in her block was more combustible than at Grenfell Tower.

Image caption Katie Peate said residents “feel stuck”

James Oates, who lives in Skyline Central tower block in Manchester city centre, said “panic-stricken” residents have been given a £23,000 bill to replace High Pressure Laminate (HPL) cladding.

“Our type of cladding is just as flammable as [Grenfell Tower]. It feels completely unjust and unfair we’ve been left out of [the fund],” he said.

Mr Oates said residents had been left with no choice but to take legal action as there was a real threat of bankruptcy and repossession as they cannot pay to replace the cladding.

Image caption James Oates said he gets “very little sleep” because of concerns about his building’s cladding

Home Ground, which acts on behalf of freeholder Adriatic Land 3 Limited for Skyline Central, said replacing cladding was a service charge item and it was seeking to reduce the cost to residents.

E and J 3US Limited, freeholder of Burton Place, has told residents it is “not its responsibility” to fund new cladding as it had no part in the construction and the government should find “a state-funded solution”.

However, in Manchester’s Green Quarter, developer Lend Lease and freeholder Pemberstone have agreed to fund replacement cladding on Vallea Court and Cypress Place.

The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government said: “We have repeatedly and consistently made clear building owners are responsible for the safety of their buildings.

“We issued unambiguous advice to building owners 18 months ago to reinforce existing building safety requirements and tell building owners what to do to make sure their cladding system is safe. This advice was updated in December 2018.”

Earlier this month, campaigners projected messages on to high-rises in Salford, Newcastle and London highlighting other dangerous cladding still existed.

Image copyright Grenfell united
Image caption Campaigners projected a message on this Salford block which they claim still has dangerous cladding
Image caption Burton Place, which has wooden cladding, is not covered by the government fund



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