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The government has abandoned us to a daily fear of fire and financial ruin

The government is wrong to abandon residents of blocks with non-ACM cladding. We are living with the daily fear of fire and financial ruin, write Amy Du Quesne and James Oates 

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The NV Building, also in Manchester, displays a message ahead of the Grenfell anniversary
The NV Building, also in Manchester, displays a message ahead of the Grenfell anniversary
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The government is wrong to abandon residents of blocks with non-ACM cladding. We are living with the daily fear of fire and financial ruin, write the residents of @SkylineCentral1 @McrCladiators #EndOurCladdingScandal

Residents of @skylinecentral1 explain how they are being put under pressure to pay crippling bills and are living in fear #EndOurCladdingScandal

On 12 February, we were shocked to discover that the building in which we live, Skyline Central 1 in Manchester, did not comply with fire safety standards.

That shock was compounded when we learned that we, the leaseholders, would have to foot the bill to cover the cost of fixing unsafe cladding and poorly installed firebreaks.

Despite the government calling on developers to do the opposite, freeholder Adriatic Land 3 refused to pay for the work and passed on to us residents a bill of £1.6m plus VAT. That works out at around £25,000 a flat – a price that none of us could afford to pay.

Since then, the situation has got worse. Two days before the terrifying fire in Barking last week, we received a letter with a new bill stating that “due to the delay in the project commencing… costs of materials are rising… and they will have to pass them on”.

So, our new bill is nearly now £1.9m plus VAT – this is an increase of more than £200,000 in less than four months.


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We are being placed under extreme pressure to agree to it as we were also informed that this “tender price is open until the end of July 2019”, after which we can expect another series of price rises. This is causing us anxiety – it is a rise in a cost that we already can’t afford to pay.

We live in a constant state of worry from living in unsafe conditions and the knowledge that the price to fix that is rising month on month.

Adriatic Land 3 has links to Long Harbour, which owns our sister property, Skyline Central 2. In 2014/15, a survey was carried out on the cladding of Skyline Central 2 that found exactly the same issues and defects with the firebreaks and construction of the cladding as are on our building.

However, Adriatic Land never passed on this information to us at the time. If it had done so in 2014/15, we would have been covered by the National House Building Council’s 10-year building warranty and the works could have been carried out without putting us under unbearable stress.

The developer West Properties (UK) completed the construction of Skyline Central 1 in 2006; it was dissolved in July 2014. That means that although the government is asking developers to correct unsafe, poor-standard work, this is no longer possible for us; many other buildings in the UK are facing the same situation.

The law is against residents.

In the wake of the Barking fire and with the two-year anniversary of the tragedy at Grenfell at the front of our minds, many of us are understandably suffering from huge stress and mental health issues. Loss of sleep, anxiety, fear of leaving electrical appliances switched on and panic at hearing alarms going off are just a few of the issues that have become a daily routine for us. This is before the possible financial implications that we face are factored in.

On 9 May, the government released a fund that it said will only be available to buildings clad with aluminium composite material – the material that was on Grenfell. That means buildings such as the Barking block and ours, with faulty firebreaks and cladding materials that are just as unsafe, will not be covered.

“The government has created a ‘cladding lottery’. Tens of thousands of us are left with not only the mental trauma of going to bed each night with the fear of a devastating fire, but also the anxiety of financial ruin to make our homes safe”

This ‘fund’ will fix fewer than half of the unsafe, risky buildings in the country; fires will happen in the ones it does not cover. The government has created a ‘cladding lottery’. Tens of thousands of us are left with not only the mental trauma of going to bed each night with the fear of a devastating fire, but also the anxiety of financial ruin to make our homes safe.

We simply cannot afford to pay this bill. Some of us have considered selling or remortgaging our property. However, this isn’t possible as lenders won’t provide mortgages on properties with cladding issues. We, as owners of these apartments, are stuck through no fault of our own living in unsafe properties we can’t afford to fix in homes that are close to worthless.

As a result of this, we at Skyline Central 1 co-founded the Manchester Cladiators; alongside Inside Housing and the UK Cladding Action Group (UKCAG), we also founded the #EndOurCladdingScandal campaign.

We are calling on the government to end our cladding scandal. We’re asking them to do the right thing and put a full fund in place to pay for all works to make unsafe private apartments in countless blocks all over the country safe to live in again.

We are all part of the same story and none of us should be left behind.

We live in buildings that are just as unsafe as Grenfell. Thankfully, no one was injured at Barking, but we don’t want it to take another tragic loss of life before the government finally steps in and does the right thing for everyone.

Amy Du Quesne and James Oates, residents, Skyline Central 1

End Our Cladding Scandal: campaign aims

End Our Cladding Scandal: campaign aims
  • Government provides a fund to cover the cost of cladding removal and remedial works on private blocks
  • A firm timescale is set out of no more than two years for the work to be carried out
  • Residents are reimbursed for the interim fire safety costs incurred, and funding is to be provided for necessary internal fire safety measures identified by a competent fire risk assessor

Please email peter.apps@insidehousing.co.uk if you want to support the campaign

End Our Cladding Scandal: campaign backers

  • Martin Hilditch, editor, Inside Housing
  • Manchester Cladiators
  • UK Cladding Action Group
  • Natasha Elcock, chair, Grenfell United
  • Sadiq Khan, mayor of London
  • Kate Henderson, chief executive, National Housing Federation
  • Terrie Alafat, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Housing
  • Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • Lord Gary Porter, chair of the Local Government Association
  • Polly Neate, chief executive, Shelter
  • Jane Duncan, chair of the expert advisory group on fire safety, RIBA
  • Andy Dark, assistant general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union
  • Christina McAnea, assistant general secretary, UNISON
  • Sir Peter Bottomley, Conservative MP and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform
  • Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP, and member of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform
  • Mark Amesbury, shadow employment minister and Labour MP for Weaver Vale
  • Emma Dent Coad, former Labour MP for North Kensington
  • Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central
  • Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow
  • George Howarth, Labour MP for Knowsley
  • Graham Stringer, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton
  • Rob Ellis, presenter, Capital FM
  • John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets
  • Paul Dennett, mayor of Salford
  • Suzanne Richards, councillor and executive member for housing and regeneration on behalf of all Manchester's Labour Councillors
  • Sir Richard Leese, Labour councillor and leader Manchester City Council
  • John Leech, Manchester Liberal Democrat leader on behalf of all Manchester’s Liberal Democrat councillors
  • Darren Rodwell, executive member for housing at London Councils and leader of Barking and Dagenham Council
  • George Clarke, TV Architect
  • David Walker, bishop of Manchester
  • Graham Tomlin, bishop of Kensington
  • John Roberts, founder of AO.com
  • Josh Beaumont, professional rugby player, Sale Sharks and resident of affected building
  • Bill Beaumont, former England rugby captain
  • Jeremy Dyson, co-founder of the League of Gentlemen
  • Andy Moss, actor who has appeared on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and resident
  • Ross Mullan, actor who has appeared in Game of Thrones
  • Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, musician
  • Nour-eddine Aboudihaj, spokesperson for Justice4Grenfell
  • Mike Leonard, chief executive, Building Alliance
  • Kate Kendrick, founder, National Leasehold Campaign
  • Martin Boyd, chair, Leasehold Knowledge Partnership
  • Paula Higgins, chief executive, HomeOwners Alliance
  • Mark Henderson, chief executive, Home Group
  • Ben Clay, founding member of the Tenants Union
  • Hilda Palmer, acting chair of the Hazards Campaign
  • Susan Bright, professor of law, University of Oxford
  • Gill Kernick, consultant and former Grenfell Resident
  • Phil Murphy, fire safety expert and tower block resident

This list will be updated. Please email peter.apps@insidehousing.co.uk if you want to support the campaign

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