Calls for developers to be banned in Wales if they refuse to pay for remedial work on unsafe buildings
Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru’s Housing Spokesperson, has called for developers who refuse to pay for remediation works to make buildings safe to be banned from any development work in Wales and for their directors bank accounts to be be frozen.
The MS for Dwyfor Meirionnydd urged the Welsh and UK Governments to act following the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell tragedy earlier this week.
72 People died in the Grenfell Tower Block in West London after a fire ripped through the building in the early hours of the morning on 14 June 2017, accelerated by flammable cladding that had been added to the outside of the structure during a renovation.
In April thirty-five of the biggest property developers in the UK agreed to pay £5 billion towards fire safety remediation costs in an England-only deal after UK ministers warned those who did not sign up for the voluntary pledge could be banned from carrying out new construction projects.
Last month the Scottish Government also confirmed developers will be expected to fund works to properties they built to address safety issues.
“Leaseholders today are paying thousands of pounds extra for remediation works on top of the service charges costs, which they shouldn’t have to pay for. Often, this cost is transferred to the tenants, Mr ap Gwynfor said.
“They are having to pay millions for something that is not their fault. The responsibility lies with those selfish and devious developers and their companies who cut corners and used shoddy practices to build these unsafe buildings.
“Those who refuse to take responsibility and pay for the works needed to correct these faults should be banned from any further developments here in Wales, and their directors should have their bank accounts frozen.
“Then they would realise how these innocent leaseholders and tenants feel.
“The fact that Michael Gove on behalf of the UK Government has gone ahead and secured an England-only developer pledge to get these guilty developers to pledge to pay for remedial works shows how little the UK Government cares for Wales as well,” he added.
In May Climate Change Minister Julie James confirmed she had written to property developers inviting them to a meeting to discuss their building in Wales which require repairs due to safety defects.
In a written statement the minister said the Welsh Government’s approach to repairs to these buildings “is the fundamental belief that developers should contribute towards the costs of fixing these problems” and also criticised the England-only agreement on repairs that was announced last month by Michael Gove.
The minister said she was writing to all developers – those who signed the pledge in England and those who did not – “to meet me to discuss the timeframes they have in place to repair safety defects in their buildings in Wales”
“While I would prefer to work in collaboration with developers to secure the required remediation for Welsh leaseholders, I am prepared to use all the powers at my disposal to pursue developers who do not engage.
She also published a list of developers who have chosen not to engage with the Welsh Government and warned “failing to act should have significant reputational and commercial consequences for the firms involved.”
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