Liverpool

THREE YEARS post Grenfell, the ‘true extent’ of the Liverpool city region’s cladding issues are ‘still unknown’, as ‘at least 50 buildings’ have applied for government remediation funding.

Liverpool Echo reported on the findings from campaign group Liverpool Cladiators at a meeting recently, where the group saw Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration Barry Kushner state that ‘we don’t know exactly the extent’ of the cladding problems in the city ‘because buildings need to be surveyed by the fire service’.

The news outlet stated that ‘at least 50’ buildings in the area have applied for government funding for fire safety works, but that both the councillors and Liverpool Cladiators ‘still don’t know where all of them are’, while new problems ‘are still being uncovered’. Most of the towers with aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding have ‘either had it removed or are doing so now’, but ‘some haven’t started yet’, and others are ‘still being found’ to have combustible cladding.

Liverpool Cladiators’ Julie Fraser told the meeting that ‘we do have a small spreadsheet together, but the problem is there’s no big data sheet. Week by week we are getting buildings that weren’t aware of any problems coming forward’. While her own block in Runcorn ‘has known about its cladding issues for a year’, with some work done on other fire safety problems ‘at great cost to residents’, some buildings ‘are only just finding out that they are affected as well’.

This has led to ‘residents facing huge bills for waking watches or new fire alarms while the value of their flats plummets to zero’. Other local councillors said they had ‘not been told about all the buildings’ that applied for cladding funding, with Nick Small of the Central ward stating he knew ‘of around 14 buildings in the city, mainly in the city centre and along the waterfront’, but some residents ‘were not aware of problems until they received a bill’.

He told the meeting that ‘the first building we got involved with a couple of months ago was because they got a bill for a waking watch. They had a demand for over £1,000 for a fire alarm in each apartment and people are going absolutely mad’. The council has ‘resolved to provide’ affected leaseholders with support after a motion backed by Mr Small and other councillors, but needs to ‘find out which buildings are affected’.

At the same meeting, one resident said they were ‘struggling to get their money back after paying for a waking watch that turned out to be unnecessary and was cancelled after a matter of weeks’, while another said that the company managing their block ‘refused to share’ the fire and rescue service report ‘detailing exactly what problems had been identified’, while Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne offered his support, as he sits on the housing select committee in parliament.

He commented: ‘I really do see the momentum behind this campaign and because it’s right, because it’s just I think it will get results quickly, I really do. There’s cross-party consensus on this so I’m quite confident moving forward that it will get resolved.’