Legal & General has announced that it will pick up the entire, multi-million pound cost of removing the Grenfell-style cladding at flats above the Blenheim Centre in Hounslow, west London, it has informed LKP.
This means that the 334 residential leaseholders at the flats, called Reflexions, will be spared repair bills estimated between £20,000 and £30,000.
At present, 16 fire marshals are employed on site 24/7 at a cost of £165,000 a month after Grenfell-style “aluminium composite material” was found at the site.
Legal & General announced its “gesture of goodwill” after LKP took up the issue, prompting the insurance giant to address the matter publicly.
The issue was had been taken up by local Labour MP Ruth Cadbury, a former shadow housing minister who is also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and commonhold reform.
Legal & General’s announcement is covered in the current issue of the news magazine Private Eye.
At least 20 private blocks affected Bills for fire marshals at one site have reached £16,000 a week Leaseholders in the Citiscape block of flats in Croydon face a £750,000 – £1 million bill to remove the same insulation cladding involved in the Grenfell Tower fire.
Legal & General provided the following statement to LKP:
“Legal & General acquired the Blenheim Centre, a shopping centre in Hounslow in 2010. It was built in 2006 by Vinci.
“The property comprises retail, leisure and restaurant accommodation over the ground and first floor, together with a car park in the basement.
“Above our property is a nine-storey block containing residential flats that were built and sold by the original freeholder, Barratt Homes.
“Annual fire and health and safety risk assessments are carried out on the property and the building is designed and built to meet all Building Regulations in force at the time of construction. As such, a fire assessment was last carried out on the shopping centre in April 2017, at which time no deficiencies or actions were identified.
“In addition to this, as a responsible investor, in light of the events of Grenfell we have taken every step to ensure that the building has the right safety measures in place.
“Actions to date have included: submitting the building’s cladding for testing; liaising with Hounslow Council regarding the building’s safety for members of the public; liaising with the Fire Safety Officer (the London Fire Brigade) to ensure the building is safe to occupy; working closely with the management company of the residential block, Reflexions, to ensure they understand their obligations in respect of the fire safety; and commissioning a fire engineer’s report to make short and long term recommendations that, together with Reflexions, we are carrying out.
“Legal & General takes its landlord obligations very seriously and considers that the safety of the residents is of paramount importance.
“While I am not in a position to disclose the full costs associated with these actions, I can confirm that all necessary measures to protect the safety of residents are continuing to be carried out and that as a gesture of goodwill we have proposed a solution to ensure that residents will not be adversely financially affected as a result of these works.
“As such Legal & General has offered to fund these costs.”
It is believed that there is another L&G site in Manchester with similar cladding issues.
Legal & General have not confirmed this, responding:
“Our goodwill gesture at the Blenheim Centre was made on an individual basis, based on a number of detailed individual considerations.
“I am not sure of the building in Manchester that you are referring to, but there isn’t a common link between this shopping centre asset and any other asset that we manage so it is difficult to say whether a similar stance would/could be taken elsewhere.”