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Developers face bans and fines over cladding

Private developers including construction giant Lendlease could be hit with fines if they do not remove dangerous cladding from their buildings, the government has warned.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire said developers and building owners could now face financial penalties or be barred from future government schemes if they refuse to replace cladding, or force leaseholders to pay for the work.

Lendlease, Pemberstone, Paddington Development Corporation and GLA Land & Property were all named by Mr Brokenshire as companies that needed to take action or run the risk of government sanctions.

The latest statements are part of a drive to accelerate work on private blocks after recent government statistics revealed that only nine of out of 293 private blocks had seen dangerous ACM cladding removed since the Grenfell Tower Fire last June.

The figures published a fortnight ago also revealed that there were still nearly 200 blocks which had not yet informed the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Goverment of plans to take down cladding.

In his strongest message yet to building owners and developers, Mr Brokenshire said those firms that did not take swift action would now face enforcement action from local councils.

The housing secretary has now written to 60 building owners and developers warning of the steps the government could take if work was not carried out and leaseholders were not protected from the costs.

He said: “There is a moral imperative for private sector landlords to do the right thing and remove unsafe cladding quickly, and not leave leaseholders to cover the cost.

“A number of leading developers have stepped up to the mark and agreed to pay for work, and we urge others to follow their lead. If they don’t, we have not ruled anything out.

“I am also warning those who are not acting quickly enough to put in plans to remove dangerous cladding to take action now, or face enforcement action from their council.”

Mr Brokenshire said in June that he “had not ruled anything out” for private sector building owners that refused to meet the costs of re-cladding their properties, but at the time did not outline what those steps could be.

Only a handful of developers have agreed to cover the costs of cladding on their high-rise blocks so far, these include: Mace, Legal and General, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments.

Last week Barratt said it would be increasing its provision for replacing flammable cladding to £4m, up from the £2m its said it would spend back in April.

CN has spoken to residents in blocks across the country which have yet to see dangerous cladding removed and face hefty bills for the work.

These include those living at the Lendlease-developed Vallea Court and Cypress Place in Manchester where residents could face bills of around £10,000 each to remove cladding from their buildings.

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