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Developers to foot bill for cladding repairs at luxury development

26 May 2023 3 minute read
Doc Fictoria by siaronj is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

Developers Watkin Jones will foot the bill to carry out fire and safety repairs at a prestigious Menai Strait waterfront apartment complex.

The North Wales Fire & Rescue Service confirmed earlier this week that there were “issues with the cladding” at the Doc Fictoria development in Caernarfon.

A resident, who asked to remain anonymous, feared that apartment owners would be left to foot a multi-million bill. But Watkin Jones has reassured Doc Fictoria residents that it will cover “any associated costs,” for remedial work, if required. It’s not clear at this stage who much the work would cost.

The scale of the “cladding crisis” which has affected high and medium rise apartment buildings across the UK was uncovered in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. It is thought combustible cladding may have played a role helping to spread the fire which led to the deaths of 72 people, who perished after a blaze swept through the London tower block on June 14, 2017.

The tragedy raised concerns about the material used to clad the apartments on the banks of the Menai Strait. One resident, who asked not to be named, had described “a battle royale” between the Welsh Government, Watkin Jones, the freeholders and their agents over who should pay for the repairs.

Remedial works

They claimed residents had been afraid to speak out, and that “very little had moved on” until this week’s announcement from the developers. A spokesperson said: “Watkin Jones is working closely with the management company at Victoria Dock, as well as external specialists, to gauge what remedial works, if any, might be required to the external wall of the building.

“Whilst residents should be reassured that everything possible is being done to expedite matters, it is important to allow this process to continue to ensure that the right solutions are identified. In the event that any remedial work is required, it should be noted that any associated costs will be covered by Watkin Jones and not the residents.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have been clear developers should take responsibility for fire safety issues in buildings they have developed, and should rectify them at their own cost.

“We understand that Watkin Jones are working with leaseholders and residents to rectify fire safety issues at Doc Fictoria.”

A spokesperson for Residential Management Group RGM also said: “We have held an initial constructive meeting with Watkin Jones and they have subsequently carried out investigations on the development with our support.

“Once we have the outcome of those surveys we will discuss the next stages with them. We will continue to keep the residents updated as we fully recognise the importance of this matter and they have our full support in trying to resolve the issue.”

He added that there was no timescale at this stage, as surveys were only conducted two weeks ago.

“Once the reports have been completed Watkin Jones have said they will contact us for a meeting. We have no idea on the cost until we have the fire engineers assessment reports and it would wrong to speculate.”

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