1. ITV Report

Croydon residents told to foot £2 million bill to replace Grenfell-style cladding

By Rags Martel: ITV News reporter

What does it feel like living in a building which is just as dangerous as Grenfell?

Citiscape apartment complex in Croydon Credit: ITV News

Anything can happen any moment. And if the fire catches then it will be as violent as it was in Grenfell.

– Srikant Alla, Citiscape resident
Service charge notice Credit: ITV News

The problem is the cladding. The Citiscape apartment complex in Croydon is covered in the flammable type used at Grenfell. Srikant Alla is one of the residents facing a £31,000 bill to replace it.

I'm sad, frustrated and angered - very much. I don't know how to find the money now. I don't feel at all responsible to pay anything.

– Srikant Alla
Citiscape apartment complex in Croydon Credit: ITV News

This building is considered so dangerous fire wardens holding fog horns patrol the corridors 24 hours-a-day.

Everyone agrees the cladding must go but no one wants to pay for the cost of replacing it which could be as much as £2 million.

Fire warden carries a fog horn Credit: ITV News

The dispute went to court and a tribunal ruled it's the leaseholders who are liable to pay for the recladding costs.

When Citiscape was built, the cladding was legal and thought to be safe. But since Grenfell we now know it's dangerous and flammable.

But the ruling does raise questions about the government's role in fire safety, mentioning "errors in the cladding certification process", adding " relevant building regulations were not fit for purpose."

Credit: ITV News

We've got a certificate that says the government is responsible for putting this kind of cladding on buildings like Citiscape and Grenfell.

It's not the builder's fault, it's not the developer's fault, it's not the leaseholder's fault - the cladding went up because the government said it was safe and we have a certificate signed by the chair of the government's fire safety expert panel that says it was safe and this was signed three years before Grenfell.

So instead of trying to wash their hands of responsibility for what they've done instead of abandoning leaseholders like the people who live here [Citiscape]. The government needs to act now. They are responsible for this cladding being up, they must take responsibility for taking this cladding down. Nobody else owes a penny.

– Steve Reed, Labour, Croydon North

The government told ITV News they're not in a position to comment on individual cases but are keeping the situation under review.

Firstport Property Services who manage the building said:

We must begin these essential safety works. If government plans to offer any meaningful support to affected leaseholders, we urge it to do so.

– Firstport Property Services

Nine months after Grenfell the urgent task of making homes safe has yet to begin.