A fund has been established to replace lethal Grenfell-style cladding on Vallea Court and Cypress Place
Great news (finally) this morning for residents of two apartment blocks in Green Quarter which contain the lethal aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding.
In a letter from the freeholder, Pemberstone, residents of Vallea Court and Cypress Place have been informed that they will not have to personally fork out to replace the cladding at an estimated cost of £3m (roughly £20,000 per resident).
Residents say the welcome letter marks "the end of twenty distressing months"
The letter reads:
'We can now confirm that a fund has been established that ensures that leaseholders will not have to pay to replace the ACM and Trespa cladding panels, and the temporary measures that are in place (the waking watch).'
The letter goes on to say that a contractor has been appointed, with work beginning in a few weeks.
In June 2018, Confidential reported that residents of Vallea Court and Cypress Place, constructed by Australian property giant Lendlease in 2013, were being forced to pay for replacement cladding following post-Grenfell Tower safety checks.
The two blocks, housing 345 apartments, were identified as containing the lethal cladding which is thought to have been a major contributor in the deaths of 72 people when fire swept through the North Kensington high rise in June 2017.
In July 2018, a tribunal ruled that the residents would have to pay the £3m bill. Speaking to Confidential following the decision, Green Quarter residents’ spokeswoman Katie Kelly said: “It’s making peoples’ lives hell. It’s a living nightmare living there now.”
A further kick in the teeth came in January when Lendlease, who had gone suspiciously quiet on Green Quarter residents, were awarded a £160m construction contract by the council to refurbish Manchester Town Hall.
The issue was raised at a subsequent council meeting, with council leader Sir Richard Leese stating that they were working with all parties to make sure that residents would not be made to pay.
Almost two months after the council meeting and the controversy appears to have finally been put to bed.
In a statement released today, residents of the Green Quarter said: “The welcomed letter marks the end of twenty distressing months for everyone living in the Green Quarter. Not only have we been living with the knowledge that our homes are flammable, we’ve also faced trying to find £25,000 each to pay for the work to start.
"We’re all really pleased that Lendlease, Pemberstone and the consortium have recognised the right thing to do and have protected residents from this cost.
“We’re incredibly grateful for the support from members of Manchester City Council. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today and we will forever be indebted for their help.”
Of course, that it has taken over a year for this matter to be resolved should not be brushed over. The anxiety and fear experienced by residents, forced to sleep in unsafe apartment blocks, unable to sell or even market their properties for sale, dreading a hefty maintenance bill that could sink many of them financially, can only be imagined.
But for now it appears justice has been done. The persistence and determination of the residents, voiced through the @GqrMcr Twitter account, must be commended. As must those, especially Councillor Suzanne Richards, the council's executive member for housing, who have put pressure on the developers to do the right thing.
It's a rare win for the people and their tireless campaign over the big bad corporations. And because of that, it won't just be the Green Quarter residents sleeping a little sounder tonight.