UK

Ealing MP challenges PM to change rules for cladding victims

EALING Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq has demanded answers from the Prime Minister on the “living nightmare” for residents trying to get a safety validation for the tower blocks in which they live. 

At Prime Minister’s Questions, she asked Boris Johnson about rules brought in post-Grenfell to avoid a repeat of the disaster which killed 72 people in 2017.

Leaseholders currently have to pay for and produce an external wall system (EWS1) safety certificate if they want to sell their home or obtain a new mortgage. Most high-rise blocks do not have one. 

Flat owners face years of being unable to move or re-mortgage because of a lack of specialist building inspectors, while dangerous cladding remains on their property.

Under the Government’s Waking Watch scheme, guards have to continually patrol high-rise blocks that are deemed a fire risk, with residents footing the bill.

READ MORE: Northolt estates to benefit from Mayor of London’s greener fund

Affected blocks in Acton include Issigonis House and Morris House, off the Vale, as well as new-builds like Chaplin House in South Acton and even the luxury private building The Curve, near Ealing Broadway.    

Ms Huq asked the PM to accept that leaseholders should not foot the bill for what was no fault of their own.

The PM said mortgage companies should realise EWS1 forms are not necessary for buildings under 18 metres.

“It’s absolutely vital they understand that while we get on with the work of removing cladding from all the buildings we can,” he added.

An Acton resident wrote to Ms Huq outlining the emotional impact it was having on leaseholders.

“We are truly stuck and this fiasco is severely affecting people’s finances, health and family lives,” the correspondent said.

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