Fight to protect Portishead residents from cladding bill burden

Ninety4 On the Estuary.

Ninety4 On the Estuary. - Credit: Tracey Fowler

People who are paying costly sums to make their homes safe may see a change in the law to protect them from spending substantial costs.

Around 1,000 people who live in blocks around Portishead Marina - which are under 18 metres - are now footing the bill associated with the removal of dangerous cladding. 

More: Faces of residents caught up in fire safety scandal.

Residents are caught up in a fire safety scandal exposed by the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and leaseholders are now being forced to pay upwards of £5,000 per flat in remediation costs. 

North Somerset MP Dr Liam Fox has since tabled an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill in an attempt to reclaim remediation and interim fire safety costs from ‘responsible parties’ to protect leaseholders from bills they ‘cannot afford and should not have been given’. 

He hopes the issue will be brought forward in leasehold legislation on Tuesday in the Queen’s Speech, to deal with it 'once and for all'. 

Liam Fox is one of five hoping to be the new Prime Minister.

Liam Fox is one of five hoping to be the new Prime Minister. - Credit: Archant

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Dr Fox added in the House of Commons on April 28: “We all want the same thing, the protection of taxpayers from a burden that they should not have to carry; and we want the application of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, so that the developers, insurers and builders who are responsible for the problems in the first place are the ones who have to pay the costs of remediation.” 

As well as wanting a change in law, Dr Fox believes Portishead should be used as a case study ‘to look at real people with real bills who are facing real negative equity and insurance issues, and who have difficulty accessing the Government building safety fund’. 

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However, Portishead Ninety4 on the Estuary resident, Rebecca Yates, said this feels like it is a ‘good but late gesture’ with ‘no real use to leaseholders facing these costs now’. 

Rebecca added that people have already started paying costly remediation bills, which some have had to take out loans for, while others have had to use their savings. 

Rebecca said: “‘This is a national scandal of epic proportions. It’s really just the shock of lack of consumer protection, it’s so wrong.  

“We are being charged £5,200 per flat to cover these bills. As well as this, our car park has been shut, which forces 78 extra cars in the Marina, which is a huge issue for the emergency services, fire engines in particular.  

“I’m distraught as a first-time buyer. We can’t sell, I can’t make any plans and I don’t know what’s coming next, it seems so unfair. It’s incredibly sad and soul-destroying.  

“It’s very shocking that the Government is allowing normal taxpayers to be put through this financial stress. It’s just so wrong and it’s a huge amount of money to find.” 

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