Newham has become the first local authority in Britain to successfully prosecute a building owner for failing to remove flammable cladding.
By Newham Voices
In a verdict delivered on 18 October, Tan Ikram, Deputy Chief Magistrate at City of London Magistrates Court, ruled against Chaplair Ltd after it failed to meet a deadline to remove dangerous cladding from its Lumiere building at 544 Romford Road, London E7.
Newham Council pursued legal action using its powers under the Housing Act 2004 after Chaplair Ltd failed to remove dangerous cladding on the Lumiere building by the 31 March 2021 deadline imposed in an improvement notice issued by the Council in September 2020.
Work eventually began in May 2021, with dangerous cladding removed by February 2022, and through its legal action, the Council successfully argued that there was no reasonable excuse for the delay.
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “We have zero tolerance for owners of buildings delaying essential life-saving fire safety work.
“Failing to remove dangerous cladding as quickly as possible places lives at risk and, where necessary, we will act with full force using the powers we have to protect our residents.
“Six years after the Grenfell Tower disaster, today’s decision by the court symbolises a landmark ruling in our fight to raise standards and hold building owners to account in Newham. It will also help authorities across the country to safeguard the interests of their residents using the powers available under vital housing legislation.
“This monumental ruling sends a clear warning to all building owners operating in Newham that they must act swiftly in the interest of our residents, otherwise we will take decisive action.”
Newham Council’s Cladding Action campaign puts pressure on building owners to act urgently to complete all fire safety works required, including removing all outstanding and unsafe ACM cladding in blocks, or face prosecution.
Sentencing was due to take place at Westminster Magistrates Court as Newham Voices went to press.