By Harry Scoffin
Cladding sites paying for waking watch costs may get government help, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told the Commons on April 28.
Replying to Labour housing shadow Mike Amesbury, Mr Jenrick said:
“With regard to waking watch, I have asked the noble Lord Greenhalgh, the new Minister with responsibility for building safety, to look into this to see what we can do to reduce the cost of waking watch for members of the public in this position, and to ensure that waking watches, where they are required, can continue despite the lockdown.”
This is the first indication that government money might pay for waking watch, which has already cost leaseholders hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It is encouraging news for the leaseholders who have received no pledge of government assistance, such as sites where the height of the building is less than 18 metres, or where there are huge hikes in insurance costs.
Leaseholders at Paddington Walk development in central London have already paid £700,000 for waking watch, while at Northpoint, a site of only 49 flats, leaseholders collectively are paying £11,000 a month.
“Freedom of Information requests showed at least 380 blocks of flats have watches in place, costing some people as much as £840 a month – more than their monthly mortgage payments,” reports the Huffington Post.
Get the latest on coronavirus. Sign up to the Daily Brief for news, explainers, how-tos, opinion and more. Work to strip dangerous cladding from tower blocks has ground to a halt because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Jenrick said that coronavirus lockdown has slowed the pace of cladding remediation, with contractors downing tools “on as many as 60% of sites”. But that work should resume immediately.
Speaking after virtual question time, Mr Amesbury said to Inside Housing magazine: “We need more of a sense of urgency and a firmer commitment from the government on this matter. Leaseholders are in desperate need of transitional support to cover very expensive waking watch schemes.”
Government looking at ways to reduce waking watch costs for residents, Jenrick says #ukhousing The government is investigating means to reduce the cost of waking watch services for residents in buildings with dangerous cladding, housing secretary Robert Jenrick has said #ukhousing Asked by Labour’s shadow housing minister Mike Amesbury what is being done for residents in this position, Mr Jenrick said he had tasked Baron Stephen Greenhalgh, minister of state for building safety and communities, to investigate measures.