Housing association to spend £72 million on ‘remedial and reinvestment’ work

Following a “multitude” of fire safety concerns, a housing association has agreed to a multimillion-pound deal to refurbish an estate in west London.

Earlier this month, Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) announced it would be undertaking a £72 million “upgrade and investment programme” to refurbish Brentford’s Paragon Estate, consisting of 1,059 homes, after serious fire safety issues were discovered.

In October 2020, approximately 1,000 residents, including students, were evacuated from the Hounslow-based modular development. As reported by Inside Housing, the issues found during the intrusive inspections were deemed “so serious” that the “safety of residents could no longer be guaranteed”. The development has since been sitting empty while NHG was working to acquire the necessary planning consents from the London Borough of Hounslow and striking a deal with regeneration contractor Equans.

The decision to refurbish rather than rebuild has surprised some parties. A spokesperson for NHG explained: “We conducted extensive investigations to identify the best solution to allow us to reprovide homes at the Paragon estate and are confident that the option we are pursuing is robust and feasible.

Concerns over fire safety emerged as early as December 2017, when NHG injected £8 million into the development to “remove dangerous cladding and replace missing fire breaks”. However, the results of another intrusive survey in 2020 indicated that the development was “too dangerous to be occupied”. According to Building, plywood that had been found lining the outer face of the six blocks needed to be removed in order to achieve an EWS1 fire rating. After the six blocks were evacuated, residents were rehoused, with NHG reportedly spending over £20 million buying back homes in 2021.

In a press release dated 7 August 2023, NHG stated: “Those who lived previously at Paragon have all been successfully supported to find new homes and move on with their lives following the difficult decision to ask them all to leave the estate in October 2020 due to Notting Hill Genesis’ concern that the buildings did not meet adequate levels of safety.

Rehousing everyone meant that we could complete thorough investigations to determine the remedial and reinvestment works needed to bring Paragon back into occupation, ensure a safe place to live, and allow residents to benefit from improved modern homes and quality of life.”

The housing association confirmed that alongside remedial works, it would be “installing much thicker insulation and a new façade to dramatically improve the comfort and efficiency of the homes”. £36 million of the allocated £72 million will be used to modernise the building’s services and finishes. This includes the installation of new sprinkler systems and upgraded mechanical, engineering, and public health systems. NHG anticipates that the “completely refitted homes” will be brought back into use between 2025 and 2026.

The regional managing director of Equans, Dan Germann added: “Following months of significant intrusive investigations and comprehensive planning and testing, we are delighted to have been appointed to undertake the remedial and reinvestment works at the Paragon Estate development.

Equans is very much looking forward to continuing the proactive and collaborative working relationships which have developed over the past number of months with Notting Hill Genesis and their appointed professional team. We are committed to ensuring that this significant project provides both safe and modern accommodation for all residents at Paragon Estate.”


(Photograph by Notting Hill Genesis)