Six years after the Grenfell tower fire, tens of thousands of people are still stuck living in unsafe buildings. Residents joined together to create the End Our Cladding Scandal group; they have spent years campaigning to improve building safety. They have just been nominated for a Sheila McKechnie Foundation National Campaigner Award.
The Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 was one of the UK’s worst modern disasters. Six years later, tens of thousands of people are still stuck living in unsafe buildings.
Residents have struggled for years to get any authority to take responsibility for the removal of flammable cladding, similar to that used on Grenfell. The buck is constantly passed from government, to developers, to local authorities, to building regulators and back again.
Leaseholders were told that if they wanted to remove the cladding, they’d have to do it themselves at a cost of £30,000 and upwards.
Things got so bad that the residents decided to work together to create the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign. Giles Grover lives in a highrise on the outskirts of Manchester and he’s a member of the group:
“We spent two years going between the developers, the government, and the local authorities” he told Tortoise. “Everyone’s just shifting the blame”.
The group’s campaigning has resulted in several significant victories. It pushed the government to introduce new protections which have saved some leaseholders from having to pay huge cladding removal costs, and it forced 50 property developers to fix deadly building defects.
But Grover says this is not enough, he says that at the heart of the issue is politics…
“It’s never been just about funding. It’s been about the government actually getting a grip of it. Ensuring that all buildings that require remediation have the funding. It’s the government regulations that allowed the developers to do what they wanted. So why should the innocent leaseholders be the ones paying for it?”
As the sixth anniversary of the Grenfell fire approaches, End Our Cladding Scandal has been nominated for the “Best Consumer Campaign 2023.”
Tortoise is delighted to be the media partner for the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s National Campaigner Awards.