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Puzzled by purchase of tower block freehold

  Malcolm Hellings

  Malcolm Hellings

Our national media has been reporting the inquiry into the terrible Grenfell fire. We in Slough have our own potential for disaster, Nova House. I believe the same cladding mainly responsible for so much that terrible night one year ago was used on Nova House

You wonder how in the first place our council and their building inspectors did not pick up on the fact the cladding used on Nova House did not have the fire-resistant properties required by law and  building regulations. Surely that is what we employ building inspectors for.

Then I read the council bought the freehold of the property. How did that make sense? That cost us, the people who pay taxes, a few million pounds. The apartments of Nova House are I presume owned either by investor landlords or individuals who have purchased the property to live there themselves. Buying freeholds of new build properties has become something of a racket over the last few years. Developers sell off the freeholds of new developments to speculators who regularly increase the ground rent over the years putting the original purchaser in an impossible situation.

Not for one moment do I think Slough Council are in that business, but I cannot think of a reason for the freehold purchase.  It now means our council will be involved, probably financially, in getting Nova House made safe.

Surely the cost of the recladding should be the developer’s or  previous owner’s responsibility? Why has our council taken on this possible huge cost liability?

Why did the council buy the freehold,  when will recladding take place, and who will be paying it?

 

Malcolm Hellings

Appletree Lane

Slough

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