Local MP joins leaseholders to protest against developer, reports James Cracknell
Edmonton MP Kate Osamor has called on a developer to fix cladding deemed “unsafe” on a modern estate, after joining a day of nationwide protests.
Leaseholders living at Prowse Court in Fore Street, caught up in a growing scandal over cladding and fire safety, were joined by the Labour MP outside a sales office for developer Countryside.
Residents of the building, situated above Silverpoint Medical Centre, discovered last year the cladding on their balconies didn’t meet stricter fire safety regulations introduced after the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The residents face bills of up to £15,000 to replace the cladding, but have been rejected by a government cladding fund launched to much fanfare earlier this year.
Kate Osamor said: “Countryside refuse to fix the problem they caused, meaning hundreds of my constituents have been left in unsafe properties, unable to afford the huge cost of fixing them.
“This is the same problem faced by leaseholders across the country. As a result of property developer greed and the government’s obsession with cutting regulations, they go to sleep every night knowing they are not safe and that nothing has been done to prevent another terrible tragedy like Grenfell.
“That’s why I joined my constituents to protest outside Countryside Properties. We had a clear message; if you broke it, fix it.”
The government’s Building Safety Fund previously rejected an application from Prowse Court residents, apparently because cladding on balconies falls outside its remit, but they are now appealing this decision.
Edel Smullen is one of those affected and also joined last weekend’s protest in Hackney. She said: “The government is dragging its feet looking at our Building Safety Fund appeal. We can’t start any work until we know if they are paying or not. If they don’t, we don’t know how we can afford to pay. And we just continue to live in flammable homes.
“Countryside constructed our building at Silverpoint and then later sold the freehold to an offshore company. We wanted to protest outside a nearby Countryside sales office to express our own upset and horror at the situation we find ourselves in, through no fault of our own, and to prevent innocent people from getting trapped in unsafe homes and facing huge bills they can’t afford.”
Countryside maintains that Prowse Court complied with the building regulations in place at the time of its construction. A spokesperson said: “We consider fire safety and the quality of the construction of our buildings to be an absolute priority. We are sympathetic to the challenges faced by some leaseholders.
“We are working with freeholders and managing agents across historical developments to comply with all government requirements and to ensure they met all regulations at the time of build.”