Developer vows to cover costs of fire safety works at Barking homes

Leaseholders urge developer Bellway to cover the cost of making their homes safe from fire.

Caspian Quarter leaseholders protest in May - Credit: Jon King

A developer has committed to paying for the replacement of wooden decking and cladding at homes in Barking Riverside months after residents began protests.

Property owners in the Caspian Quarter neighbourhood demonstrated against Bellway as long ago as May to demand it to cough up for fire safety work.

A report published in February by consultants Tri Fire identified timber decking as "a likely route" for the spread of fire.

The property developer said it is not legally responsible for the buildings, which are owned by Adriatic Land and managed by Encore Estates.

But a Bellway spokesperson said the company will "set aside legal responsibility" and wholly fund and deliver the remedial works.

Caspian Quarter leaseholder Chloe Waite called the move "an important step in the right direction".

Homeowners had feared having to pay thousands of pounds to remove the decking, with Bellway confirming that the blocks were not tall enough to be applicable for government support through the Building Safety Fund.

The developer said it will now replace the balcony decking, install cavity barriers behind cladding and replace cladding with a non-combustible alternative.

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But Chloe revealed there is still some frustration among residents around when the work will take place, claiming that their service charge has "skyrocketed".

"Without a clear, measurable time frame this situation could go on indefinitely," she added.

Caspian Quarter is in the same neighbourhood as Samuel Garside House, where a blaze engulfed homes in June 2019.

Bellway maintains that building materials used on Caspian Quarter were compliant with regulations at the time it was built, with the blocks finished between 2017 and 2018.

The Bellway spokesperson said: “We are pleased that we’ve been able to let residents know that the required remediation works at Caspian Quarter will now progress and will be funded at no cost to residents or leaseholders.

“Throughout this process Bellway has been firm in its commitment to ensuring leaseholders are safe in their homes, whilst also being protected from the cost of remediation.

“Whilst we appreciate the process may have felt slow for leaseholders, it was important that we applied the correct due diligence, conducted the necessary tests and progressed the works through the approved channels."

The company vowed to go "above and beyond" in a bid to ensure homes meet EWS1 (external wall system) fire safety standards.

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge said she was delighted Bellway had decided to cover the cost of works, adding: "I hope that other developers and freeholders follow suit.”