There was more news today for the beleaguered residents of Northpoint Tower - the high rise in Bromley North with the same cladding as Grenfell Tower. Yesterday Bob Neill MP spoke in the House of Commons and got an assurance from the Housing Minister that "the Secretary of State has written to the building owner and other parties concerned to make it clear that he expects them to fund the work". Today (23 January) Croydon MP Sarah Jones attacked the government for the "stench of complacency" about delays in removing flammable cladding and installing sprinklers in tower blocks
Residents of Northpoint on Sherman Road, Bromley North, have had to spend £6,000 a month to fund a 24-hour 2-man fire watch to ensure their safety after the building was confirmed to be clad in flammable composite metal cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower. The 1960s building was re-clad as part of its conversion from office block to 57 residential flats over 10 years ago. As such the developer's guarantee has now expired and as the freeholder is a commercial company, the flat owners are left with uncertainty as to whether they will also have to fit the bill for the building to be re-clad, likely to be hundreds of thousands of pounds. It is wrong that these Bromley residents are left living in fear and financial uncertainty as a result of government failures to ensure a building regulation system that is fit for purpose. The Liberal Democrats continue to fight for sufficient funding from central government to pay for such re-cladding works and installation of sprinkler systems, but the Government so far remains determined that the property owners should pay. While this approach has resolved the issue with the majority of buildings affected, there are still 42 properties that remain unsafe where, for example, the ownership has changed hands and the new owners are trying to push the responsibility back onto the leaseholders.