Author : Maryanne Bowring
When ordinary homeowners take to the streets to protest, it is generally a sign that something is badly wrong. Thousands of leaseholders whose homes have been blighted by the cladding scandal, have now clearly reached the point where they feel they have no other outlet for their anger and frustration other than to do just that. So a series of protests to “hit the developers where it hurts...”will take place across the country next week outside offices and sales showrooms, with a national rally to follow in London on 15 July.
Next month is the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower Fire. Just let that sink in for a moment. Thousands of people have been living with the knowledge that their home is a potential fire trap and have gone to bed frightened for their own and their family's safety for more than 2,500 nights. And those leaseholders whose homes don’t meet the criteria for the Building Safety Fund are being asked to pay for the privilege.
The government refused to back amendments to new fire safety legislation which would have provided financial support for leaseholders, and has still not produced any detail on the proposed loan scheme to help people living in low-rise blocks. Instead it says solutions will be forthcoming in the Building Safety Bill, which will be debated during this session of Parliament. All well and good – but that legislation is expected to take another two years to get onto the statute books and leaseholders need help now.
So will the protests make any difference? There is work going on behind the scenes to do more but so far it has been slow progress. If the MPS who are committed to getting leaseholders a fair deal and more funding get involved in the protests too, maybe just maybe, they will gain traction and the Government will finally sit up and take notice. It’s about time.
If you are interested in getting involved, there is a Facebook event page set up to share information which you can find at https://fb.me/e/1rSB192JQ.
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
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