Earlier this afternoon, I went to Michael Gove’s update to MPs on where we are at in terms of ensuring developers pay for the mess they have made with the cladding and building safety scandal.
He said that 39 developers have signed the building safety contract which commits them to remediate all of the unsafe buildings they have built. This list is here. There are 11 developers that are yet to sign.
The 11 yet to sign are: Abbey Developments, Avant, Ballymore, Dandara, Emerson Group (Jones Homes), Galliard Homes, Inland Homes, Lendlease, London Square, Rydon Homes, Telford Homes.
I am pleased to say that it would appear that most, if not all, of the developers of unsafe buildings in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields have signed the contract.
I wrote to all the developers and freeholders on my list of developers in Putney towards the end of last year, so I am pleased that my letter clearly worked and my warning to them was heeded. You can see my letter here:
This is a big step forward in terms of protecting you from costs, and most importantly, fixing your buildings. It is a complete disgrace that nearly six years on from Grenfell so many of you are still living in unsafe homes.
Listening to Michael Gove’s update did make me angry that the Government has not used this powers to demand action years ago.
Unfortunately this is where the good news ends.
There are still so many unresolved questions the Government does not have answers to – which is unacceptable given how long this crisis has been going on.
Leaseholders trapped in unsafe blocks in need of remediation have already waited years for action. Yet there are still no proper timelines for remediation. We may know more when the details of the Responsible Builders Scheme are revealed next week.
The deadline that matters for residents living in unsafe buildings is not the date on which a contract gets signed, it’s the date on which dangerous cladding is actually removed. Mr Gove could have given such assurances today. He did not.
Mr Gove has said responsibility for building safety tragedies rests with many people – the government, developers, product manufacturers. Why then is he not seeking to target product manufacturer to stump up cash for fixing a problem they helped to create? When will the government stop dithering and use the powers in the Building Safety Act to go after product manufacturers?
While this contract is good news for some, I know for a fact that there are several blocks in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields not covered by the contract because their cowboy developer has gone bust. The Building Safety Fund is supposed to plug this gap, but it moves at a snails pace. There is still no plan to ensure such buildings are remediated in a timely manner.
The government acknowledges there is a problem with mid-rise buildings over 11 metres with life endangering defects. So where is the 11-18 metre remediation fund, when will it open, and who will be eligible? We really need to know.
At the current rate of progress it will take until 2026 for cladding to be removed on all social housing blocks, and 2024 for private blocks. This is just far too long and it should never have got to this stage.
In short, while there has been welcome progress in the past 12 months, the cladding and building safety scandal is still a living nightmare for thousands of residents today in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields and we still have a long way to go. As your MP I will be with you every step of the way.