A “lack of pulling together” is preventing swifter progress in the remediation of thousands of homes covered in Grenfell-style flammable cladding, including Bromley’s at-risk Northpoint tower, MP Bob Neill has told the House of Commons.
Sir Bob highlighted the plight of residents living in the 10-storey north Bromley block during debate on the Fire Safety Bill on Monday.
In his address, the Bromley and Chislehurst MP also raised issues with the scope of the Building Safety Fund, as well as the need to speed the process up and cover the interim costs of keeping properties safe.
“Despite the endeavours of the current secretary of state…about the need to move on this (and) the establishment of funds, the enhancement of the amount available in this fund…the process remains so complicated that as of yet residents in Northpoint haven’t been able to progress their claims,” he told the Commons.
Just spoke in the Fire Safety Bill, raising again the case of @Northpoint20, the scope of the Building Safety Fund, the need to speed the process up and cover the interim costs of keeping properties safe, as well as problems around insurance and EWS1: https://t.co/ztrxVqZceG pic.twitter.com/vAfuN2vPXN
— Sir Bob Neill MP (@neill_bob) September 7, 2020
“The scope of the scheme does not enable them thus far to pick up the interim costs so far.
“It does indicate that all though we have a lot of initiatives there is a lack of pulling together.”
Sir Bob also said the Government had to work to hold those behind the buildings accountable.
“Nailing down the responsibility of the owners where the freehold has been sold on is particularly important,” he said.
“There are…some owners and developers who have acted responsibility to their leaseholders – frequently they’re people who still have ‘skin in the game’ because they retain the ownership or are still active or well known developers in the retail housing field.”
“That doesn’t help constituents like mine whose freehold has been sold on to what is simply an offshore investment trust.”
It came amid a backdrop of MPs clashing over an amendment which would have implemented measures formed off recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry earlier this year.
Labour leader Keir Starmer accused the Government of a “dereliction of duty” after it rejected Labour’s proposals, which would have enforced new measures including requiring flat owners or building managers in England and Wales to share information with their local fire service about the design of external walls and the materials used.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government was committed to implementing all of the inquiry’s recommendations, but would finish a consultation period with industry bodies and residents first.
The Fire Safety Bill was introduced to prevent future tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire and seeks to clarify who is responsible for fire safety in a block of flats.
The bill subsequently cleared the Commons and will now be debated in the House of Lords.
As of June more than 300 blocks still had flammable cladding yet to be removed.