Merton Liberal Democrats are moving a motion for the council cabinet to sign up to the ‘End Our Cladding Scandal’ campaign.
The motion comes as some flat owners are spending lockdown in unsafe homes which they can’t sell, and facing huge bills to fix the safety failings.
The motion states “many owners, in buildings of all heights, have been left in limbo” and are “understandably concerned about the cost of remedial work”.
Councillor Hina Bokhari for West Barnes, one of the motion’s movers, stated:
“After seeing first hand the effects the fire in Worcester Park last year had on residents, I know how devastating such a tragedy can be for residents. With the added extra mental trauma of this cladding scandal it seems completely unfair that the government are not doing more to support them and make sure they don’t have to pay the bill for fire safety in buildings.”
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Wimbledon and fellow mover of the motion Councillor Paul Kohler Trinity further added:
"After the tragedy of Grenfell I am appalled the Tory government has done so little to ensure it does not happen again. Too many people are trapped in dangerous flats they can neither make safe nor sell. The government and developers must act urgently to solve a crisis that has made it impossible to even sell purpose built flats in blocks without cladding."
Supporting the ‘End our Cladding Scandal Campaign’ means supporting the campaign’s ten demands. This includes urging the government to lead a national effort to remove all dangerous cladding from buildings by 2022, ensuring that costs are not passed onto residents and providing mental health support to those affected.
Despite the backlash to the Government’s inadequate response to the Grenfell tragedy there are many residential buildings still finding they have unsafe cladding. In a 2020 survey of leaseholders from 117 housing developments by the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, 90 per cent of respondents said the government’s response to the ‘cladding crisis’ had been “no help at all.”
This is why Merton Liberal Democrats are asking Merton Council Cabinet and the government to go further when it comes to protecting those in residential housing.
In addition to supporting the demands from the ‘End our Cladding Scandal’ campaign, the motion calls for officers to make their audit of cladding issues in Merton available for public access, the audit to include low rise blocks under 18m, and for the creation of an online ‘hub’ for residents, tenants and long leaseholders in both the private and social housing sectors to access relevant support to deal with housing safety issues.