Communities Secretary James Brokenshire told the Commons yesterday that freeholders had paid up to remove Grenfell cladding from private blocks.
He was replying to a parliamentary question from Hilary Benn concerning astronomic Grenfell cladding costs at Saxton and Skyline Apartments in his Leeds constituency.
Mr Brokenshire should understand that the developers who have paid up – such as Barratt and Bellway – have done so at sites where they no longer own the freehold.
For example, Bellway is paying to remove the cladding at New Festival Quarter, where the freehold is owned by Adriatic Land 6 (GR1) Limited, part of the Long Harbour fund, where ultimate beneficial ownership is hidden behind nominee directors.
Similarly, Barratt is paying up at Citiscape in Croydon, which it completed in 2002, although the freehold is owned by the Tchenguiz Family Trust in the British Virgin Islands.
Taylor Wimpey has undertaken to replace cladding at Glasgow Harbour, but there is no third party freehold owner in Scotland, which does not have the leasehold system.
Mr Brokenshire COULD have referenced Legal and General, the freeholder at the Blenheim Centre / Reflexion site in Hounslow, which is picking up a £12 million tab.
That’s the only freeholder – as opposed to developer – which is paying up.
Mr Benn said leaseholders are being asked to pay between £10,000 and £28,000 for each leaseholder at Skyline Apartments, and the total cost of replacing the cladding in the Saxton development could be as high as £8 million.
Mr Benn said: “Given that my constituents are being asked to pay money that they do not have to deal with a problem that they did not create, when will the Government stop urging freeholders not to charge leaseholders and actually prevent them from doing so by law?
Mr Brokenshire replied:
“We have taken several steps and put significant pressure on the industry, and that is starting to have an impact as many freeholders take the necessary steps to make buildings safe without passing on the costs to leaseholders, who should not bear them. I am happy to consider the right hon. Gentleman’s specific examples, because we are in direct contact with several different agencies, and indeed with local government about taking enforcement action, to see that work is done.”