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October 20, 2023

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Newham Council first local authority to prosecute for cladding removal delay

Newham Council has become the first local authority to successfully prosecute a building owner for failing to meet their cladding removal deadline under the Housing Act 2004.

Lumiere building at 544 Romford Road, London had dangerous cladding which should have been removed from the building by 31 March 2021, after Newham Council issued the deadline in September 2020.

City of London Magistrates’ Court heard that work started on the building in May 2021, with the flammable cladding fully removed by February 2022.

The council took legal action against Chaplair Ltd under the Housing Act 2004, successfully arguing that there was no reasonable excuse for the delay.

In his ruling, Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram wrote: “The defendants have failed to satisfy me that they have reasonable excuse in failing to comply with the improvement notice. I therefore find Chaplair Ltd guilty of the offence.”

“Landmark ruling”

Mayor of Newham Council, 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.

She added: “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’ safety first and always, otherwise we will take decisive action against you.”

Sentencing for the case will be on Tuesday 31 October 2023 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

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