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Lendlease urged to 'do the right thing' on £3m re-cladding bill

Residents have called on Lendlease to cover a £3m bill to re-clad a 345-home development after a property tribunal ruled leaseholders were liable for the costs.

A property tribunal yesterday found that residents at Vallea Court and Cypress Place in Manchester’s Green Quarter must pay for the removal of the buildings’ dangerous ACM cladding.

Residents face bills of £10,000 each and have urged the scheme’s original developer Lendlease to “do the right thing” by covering the cost.

Cypress Place resident Fran Reddington told CN: “I think we will carry on pursuing Lendlease.

“From all the discussions in the Commons and Houses of Parliament, they are all saying the developer needs to do the right thing, I think it would be very bad of Lendlease to ignore that.”

She added: “Lendlease has a huge presence in Manchester, they have lots of developments, they are also bidding for Manchester Town Hall works – a £190m management contract.

“For a company that develops 342 flats in Manchester, and a business that is focused on sustainability, you would think that they would put this right and pay.”

Developer Lendlease completed the Cypress Place and Vallea Court blocks in 2013, before selling the freehold to property investor Pemberstone in 2015.

Dangerous ACM cladding, similar to that found on Grenfell Tower, was discovered following inspections of the blocks last year.

Since then a 24/7 fire patrol, also known as a waking watch, has been in place.

Yesterday the property tribunal brought by Pemberstone against residents ruled that the leaseholders were liable for re-cladding and waking watch costs, as well as Pemberstone’s legal fees.

The judgement ruled that all of these costs would be recoverable through the residents’ yearly service charge.

Ms Reddington said leaseholders at the property would now look at their options and did not rule out appealing the tribunal decision.

She said: “As soon as these bills land, then we will have to pay them; after that it is a matter of whether we can afford it.

“We just don’t know how quickly these bills will come in – will they be tomorrow, next week – the communication has been really poor.”

The government’s Building Safety Programme, set up following the Grenfell fire, has so far found ACM cladding on 301 privately owned residential high-rises

At a meeting in Westminster last week, head of the Building Safety Programme Neil O’Connor said the government had sent out letters to private block owners and developers stating that leaseholders should be protected from re-cladding costs.

Mace became the latest developer to cover re-cladding costs this week when it agreed to pay for remediation works at its £225m Greenwich Square project.

Barratt Developments agreed to pay a £2m re-cladding bill on the Citiscape development in Croydon in April after a property tribunal ruled that residents would be liable for the costs.

Other developers to have agreed to cover the costs of work include Taylor Wimpey and Legal & General.

A spokesman for Pemberstone said the tribunal decision would allow it to put the re-cladding contract out to tender in the coming weeks.

He said: “Our professional team have continued to work to develop a specification for the removal of the remainder of the cladding and its replacement, and expect to be in a position to put this out to tender in the next few weeks so that work can start as soon as possible.

“We do appreciate the concerns of the owners, particularly the minority who live in their own apartments. We will consider carefully and sympathetically how any payments can be structured to spread the cost over time.”

Lendlease has been contacted for comment.

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