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Leaseholders in London Fields billed £1.52m for repairs after tower block bricks fell 100ft onto street

PUBLISHED: 11:25 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:55 21 November 2018

Morland Estate.

Morland Estate.

Archant

Leaseholders in a block where “extensive corrosion” caused bricks to plummet 100ft to the street below are furious after being billed up to £25,000 each for repairs.

Masonry on the Morland Estate tower fell in November last year and since then, two blocks have been cocooned in scaffolding. Some people were even unable to open their windows during the summer heatwave.

Now the town hall has sent out Section 20 notices to the tune of £1.52million for repairs to both blocks. Chiefs insist the bill is an estimate and if some areas of the blocks don’t need work it will be cheaper, but the Morland Estate and Blanchard Way Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) are not happy.

Armed with their own professional advice from structural engineer Adrian Tucker and solicitor Bill Parry-Davies, leaseholders have criticised the council’s investigation and say the proposed work goes over and above what is needed.

In a formal objection to the council, they said: “We believe that the works proposed by you extend beyond what can be justified as essential works.

“Given the limited information you have provided into investigations into the problem, we maintain that your actions in producing these proposals are not reasonable.”

Town hall housing chief Cllr Clayeon McKenzie said the council had already offered to allow the leaseholders’ own engineer to carry out a full inspection and that the survey carried out was to industry standards.

He explained: “We have not carried 100 per cent surveys because it is expensive, the cost share of which would be passed on to leaseholders, and it could destabilise the building further.

“The proposed works were set out by an independent structural engineer, and validated by a RICS-accredited surveyor. The Section 20 is only an estimate and leaseholders will only be billed on the actual work done.

“If we find some areas do not require alteration works, they will not be carried out, and this will be reflected in the final bill.

“Due to the seriousness of this situation – which could have been fatal – we are taking a robust view on the need for works as this is critical to ensure the safety of those near the building and which is our clear legal obligation as a landlord.”

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