Resident 'trapped and unable to sell' due to cladding crisis

  • Watch Max Walsh's report

A resident in Bristol says she is trapped and unable to move on with her life after her block of flats was found to be at 'substantial risk' of spreading fire.

Earlier this year, Heidi Page's building 'Armidale Place' was inspected to see if the external walls were safe - but it was given the lowest rating. It means banks will not lend on her flat until remediation work is completed.

Heidi had initially tried to sell her flat in December but the buyer pulled out due to concerns over the cladding. Eight months later, she still cannot sell the flat and says the experience has impacted her health.

Heidi said: "My hair fell out, I wasn't eating properly, I couldn't sleep.

"The knock-on effect of when someone tells you you cannot sell your property. You don't sleep because all you can think about it how are you going to get out. I just feel completely trapped and unable to move on with my life."

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy building regulations were changed. Since then fire safety inspections to check the external walls of mutli-storey blocks have been taking place across the country.

In April a fire safety inspection at Armidale Place found there was a 'substantial risk of fire spreading' due to the external wall. It also suggested fire cavity barriers normally fitted between walls appeared to be missing in some places or poorly installed - although further investigation is still required.

The building was given the lowest safety rating and remediation work is now necessary. But the impact of that means people like Heidi are stuck.

It is estimated there are 20 buildings in Bristol affected by the same cladding crisis, according to the Building Safety Map.

There are 120 flats at Armidale Place in Bristol. Credit: ITV News

Jackie Adams, who is in charge of the residents association at Armidale Place, said: "They presented us with an EWS1 form with a B2 rating which is a fail.

"That's the problem for people like Heidi and everyone else that wants to sell - the mortgage market is saying 'if you have an EWS1 fail we won't lend you any more money'.

"I think it is incredibly short-sighted and the industry needs to tackle it."

What does the government say about cladding issues?

The government says it is aware of the issue and is taking steps to unblock the housing market.

“We are spending £5bn to fully fund the replacement of all unsafe cladding systems in the highest risk buildings and are making the biggest improvements to building safety in a generation.

“It is clear that excessive industry caution is leaving many leaseholders in lower risk buildings unable to sell, or facing bills for work which is often not necessary.

“This must stop - that’s why following advice from independent experts we’ve set out that EWS1 forms should not be requested for buildings below 18m and we urge the market to follow this approach, and welcome the support of the major lenders.”

What the property's developer has said

The developer Linden Homes says it is working with the government and managing company to help those affected.

“We fully sympathise with residents affected by recent changes to building regulations and continue to work with the Government and sector bodies to find an industry solution that is practical and fair to all parties.

“The Armidale Place report has only recently been shared with us by the management company and we are in touch with them to discuss the issues and offer assistance where necessary. We remain committed to fulfilling all our obligations.”