Residents 'left in limbo' by cladding crisis demand urgent action as homes 'left to rot'

  • Watch Victoria Lampard's report from a protest in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Residents affected by the cladding scandal say their homes have been "left to rot" while the administrators responsible fail in their duty to ensure they are safe.

A protest was held outside the headquarters of leaseholders RSM UK in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk on Monday.

Among those demonstrating were people who live in The Mill at the Ipswich Waterfront.

A decade ago, gale force winds tore off and damaged much of the cladding on The Mill.

More cladding was removed in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy but since then residents say nothing has been done to make the building safe.

Residents told ITV News Anglia that they have been left in limbo, unable to sell or remortgage their homes.

The Mill in Ipswich Credit: ITV News Anglia

Russell Quirk, from The Mill Leaseholders' Association said: "Much of the buildings are unoccupied because they're unsafe either because of cladding or construction issues.

"But even those properties that are occupied cannot be sold, cannot be remortgaged because they're not safe, they're not fit for purpose."

The Mill in Ipswich Credit: ITV News Anglia

Adrian Swift, another leaseholder, said: "It's affecting me because I'm really quite concerned about the fire risks and there doesn't seem to be any sort of resolution at all.

"As you can see we're here today and they haven't even got the decency to come out and confront us and tell us what they're going to do."

The Mill's original developer became insolvent in 2010 and that's when administrators RSM UK were appointed.

They said they've worked hard to find ways to raise the necessary funds to rectify the issues affecting the property.

But residents feel, they're not doing enough.

Protesters from The Mill in Ipswich Credit: ITV NEWS ANGLIA

Rosalynn English, a leaseholder at The Mill said: "Two or three years ago when we tried to sell the properly we found out there was a cladding issue and that we couldn't sell it essentially, no one could get a mortgage on it and since then we've had problems remortgaging it so all our savings are tied up in the flat and we can't release any of the equity."

The Mill is just opposite Cardinal Lofts in Ipswich, another building plagued by a series of safety concerns.

Residents there have not been ordered to leave.

Alex Dickin, who lived in Cardinal Lofts, said: "We're standing here calling for cladding freedom. We've been trapped in our homes for so many years now with no action at all so we must be heard."

Meanwhile, in Milton Keynes, people who bought a flat in the Vizion building have found themselves in the same situation, too.

Nazia is desperate to move, but has found herself trapped.

She told ITV News Anglia: "It's left me powerless. The whole leasehold system.

"I have no power. I'm worried about my family. I'm worried about my children. I'm worried about how are we going to financially manage. It's, I mean, it's painful."

  • Watch Sophie Wiggins' report

Ann Savell bought a flat in the Vizion building next door with her son.

She ended up using her retirement money to buy him out to save him the burden.

She said: "If you think 'well, we bought them, it's our fault', you couldn't be further from the truth.

"It has turned into an absolute financial nightmare for them. You talk to the MP who really says, talk to the levelling up committee or talk to my assistant, but nobody actually does anything. It's a situation where you have actually lost all power."

RSM UK said in a statement that they are "working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure the safety measures put in place by the Administrators continue to enable the residents to remain in occupation."

Meanwhile the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities told ITV News Anglia the situation at The Mill is complex and they're looking closely at the case.

The Government has said it would make developers pay up to £4bn for the removal of unsafe cladding.

Building managers Y&Y, that are responsible for Vizion in Milton Keynes said it was "extremely frustrated that the application process [to the Building Safety Fund] has not progressed quicker". And that it hoped work on the cladding would start "in the next few months".

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