Date set for Birmingham city centre cladding scandal protest

Cladding victims are set to demonstrate in the city centre in June against the Government and developers’ handling of the national crisis.

Thousands of leaseholders in Birmingham are thought to have been affected by the cladding scandal which has seen residents landed with huge bills to pay and homes reduced in value to zero.

For the first time, many are set to meet at Victoria Square in the city centre at 12 noon on June 5 to raise awareness while similar events are set to be held across the country.

A national event in London is also being planned for July 15 by the National Leasehold Campaign and End Our Cladding Scandal.

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The Birmingham event is being held by BrumLAG, an action group campaigning on behalf of victims in the city.

Spokesperson Paula Shalloo lives at Hemisphere Apartments in Edgbaston, where residents faced around £2,000 of extra bills in interim costs last year.

These include Waking Watches – 24 hour patrols of the building to check for problems – as well as rocketing insurance prices.

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Remediation work to fix fire safety defects such as faulty fire doors is thought to cost around £40,000 per flat – which may not be covered in full by Government funds.

At the same time, homes in buildings are now valued at £0 – leaving leaseholders effectively “trapped” in unsafe apartments.

Ms Shalloo, who works as an academic proof-reader, said: “It’s the first time we’ve had an opportunity to take to the streets and make our voices heard as many of us only found out about our fire safety issues after lockdown.

“The Government isn’t moving fast enough to address the building safety crisis and developers are not stepping up so we have no choice but to protest.

“People are facing bankruptcy, mental health issues and homelessness. We’ve planned our protest to coincide with other protests happening around the country on June 5, targeting developers’ sales offices and showrooms.

“We want to raise awareness of the situation in Birmingham and call out all the developers and builders who have left residents living in unsafe buildings, facing enormous bills.”

The protest is set for Victoria Square following fire safety defects being identified at a number of Birmingham buildings including Hemisphere in Edgbaston (left)
The protest is set for Victoria Square following fire safety defects being identified at a number of Birmingham buildings including Hemisphere in Edgbaston (left)

BrumLAG has stated there are more than 5,000 flats in buildings known to be affected by cladding issues in the city.

An estimate from Labour in February suggested there are as many as 15,000 people living in buildings taller than 18 metres in the city with fire safety problems.

At the same time, Labour estimated around the same number of people are living in buildings shorter than 18 metres and therefore are only eligible for loans to cover remediation costs rather than grants.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “We know many people are worried – which is why our priority is making sure residents are safe and feel safe in their homes by removing dangerous cladding from the highest risk buildings as quickly as possible backed by over £5 billion.

“We have been clear throughout that owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders – and we will ensure they pay for the mistakes of the past with a new levy and tax to contribute to the costs of remediation.”

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