Clean up: Persimmon’s chairman Roger Devlin
By ROGER DEVLIN PERSIMMON CHAIRMAN
We have all been concerned to read of innocent leaseholders facing huge bills for safety measures, insurance rises and the cost of repairs to remove now-banned cladding.
There are also examples of the issue broadening to affect the ability of many to sell their homes. The Daily Mail has highlighted their plight and called for action.
Persimmon’s new chief executive, Dean Finch, and I agree that we cannot just stand by. We have a responsibility to step forward and tackle this issue head-on.
This is why we have set aside £75million to pay for our contribution to any necessary work on the 26 apartment blocks Persimmon has built that might be affected by the cladding issue.
We are not a major developer of high-rise blocks – we built fewer than 1 per cent of all those constructed.
However, we have in the past used cladding materials which met the fire safety rules and regulations in place at the time, but which now may be considered unsafe and require removal.
We have identified nine high-rise buildings above 18 metres high that we built and may require work.
We no longer own any of these buildings and the legal responsibility rests with the existing owner. We will provide technical support to ensure the building is safe.
But if the owner fails to step up, we stand ready to go further and provide support to make sure the work is done to make the buildings safe.
We have also identified 17 buildings below 18 metres that may have cladding that requires detailed investigation. Here, the Government has recommended a risk-based approach.
Where we own the building we will, of course, lead this work. Where we do not own the building, we will support the owners and other parties to ensure the buildings are safe for the residents.
Once again, if the owners fail to meet their obligations, we stand ready to provide support to make sure this happens.
This is a decision we believe is not only right for the residents, but is also the right thing for us to do as one the UK’s largest housebuilders.
We want to build a business with a long-term, responsible and sustainable future – to not only build thousands of much-needed homes but also support jobs and prosperity across the UK.
We are also ready to sit down with the Government to see what more the housebuilding sector can do to address this situation.
We all want to find a way to deal with unsafe cladding once and for all – and we know the sector must play its part.
But we need to do it in a way that ensures companies like Persimmon are still able to carry on building the affordable homes we need to meet the Government’s targets.
The Daily Mail has rightly highlighted the pressing need to address unsafe cladding.
At Persimmon, we hope our announcement will be a first step in finding a sustainable, long-term solution – and delivering a brighter future for the leaseholders affected.