‘I felt physically sick when I found out I’d need £40k loan to fix cladding’

Tens of thousands of flat ­owners must pay up to £50 a month to strip lethal Grenfell-style cladding from their blocks after a Government “betrayal”.

The overwhelming feeling is still one of disappointment after a new funding scheme was announced.

Zoe
Zoe Bartley’s building needs a raft of remediation work to correct problems with cladding, insulation and missing firebreaks.

But it will not qualify for cash from the new fund because her building is under 18m – instead her only option is a long term loan.

She fears it will make selling her one-bed flat in Chelmsford, Essex, impossible.

“I’m just really disappointed and deflated,” she said.

“I know a lot of people are saying £50 is not a lot, but the government said the owners shouldn’t be made to pay because they are the innocent party.

“Now it feels like they are legitimising passing costs to us. £50 doesn’t seem like a lot but for some people it really is.”

The 28-year-old said she watched government announcement with her “heart in her mouth”.

“I think the whole government approach has let everyone down – especially those under 18m,” she added.

“The money they are prepared to put up isn’t enough.

“It’s very much like ‘what number can we throw at this to make it look like we have offered a solution’. But anyone involved in this situation knows it is not enough.”

Julie
Julie Fraser said she felt “physically sick” after learning she will have to take out a loan to cover remediation costs of up to £40,000 because her block is under 18m tall.

The 58-year-old from Liverpool said: “We haven’t heard any detail yet – if it’s going to be over 30 years or 60 years. But any amount of years is too many.

“It’s incredible that these buildings have just been forgotten.

“The risk is still there. The fire service recognises this but apparently our government doesn’t.”

She called for the government to go after developers for the cash, fearing loans will make flats “unsellable”.

“Those that created this problem should have to pay for it – not me,” she added.

“Robert Jenrick said today that he’s listened to our stories and really feels for those people. But no – no he doesn’t. He doesn’t have a clue.”

Nicki and James
Nicki Cooper, 35, and husband James, 42, will have to fork out to replace cladding on their five storey building in Hoxton, east London, if it is proved to be flammable.

PR worker Nicki, whose building is around 17m tall, said: “Myself and my neighbours were expecting the announcement to be underwhelming but what’s actually been announced makes me want to cry.

“I’m so angry about it.

“Why are those buildings under 18m any more culpable in terms of the dangerous construction of a building than those in a high rise?

“Of course there are different risks and if you’re in a higher block it’s more difficult to leave the building in the case of an emergency.

“But I just don’t understand why the fund does not extend to everyone with dangerous cladding.

“What grates even more is the fact we’re in this position because the government decided last year buildings under 18m needed EWS1 forms.

“They created that rule, so why shouldn’t they take responsibility for those buildings too?

“The announcement has done nothing for us – other than to tell us that if our cladding is flammable then we will be paying out for it under a loan scheme.

“We cannot sell or move on and so we’re stuck, we’re essentially imprisoned.

“We’re basically at the back of a very, very long queue to be tested.”