APPG, April 26
Two leaseholders at the Citiscape site in Croydon offered public praise to Barratt and thanked LKP for its efforts to get the issue raised in public and addressed.
Anuj Vats and Srikant Alla are at the forefront of organising the leaseholders into a functioning residents’ association to address the crisis imposed on them after Grenfell cladding was found on site.
Mr Vats had owned his £265,000 flat for less than a year when he discovered that he would have to pay bills of £20-£30,000.
“I had put all my life savings into this property and less than a year later I got this news. All my time and effort was spent on thinking about how to find this money and sort out this issue.
“I got in touch with the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, where Martin Boyd told me that we were the first site to call them. But then I realised that there was so many other people in the same position.”
Last week Barratt decided to step in and pay the entire cost of removing the cladding and employing fire marshals.
Mr Vats paid tribute to Barratt’s. “For me and my neighbours the situation is resolved but there are thousands of other people in the same situation. As a responsible human society and democracy we should all come together to resolve this situation.
“We are not politicians, civil servants, officials and property managers at the end of the day: we are all members of society and we should resolve these things.”
Sir Peter Bottomley echoed these sentiments, adding that “where the freeholds have been traded on it should be the freeholders as well as the developers who are asked to step in and put it right”.
Srikant Alla said that he had been preparing to address the meeting before the Barratt’s announcement but that “Santa came early this year”.
He added: “I could believe in fairy tales, and Barratt was the knight in shining armour in this one.”
The decision by the house builder ended months of grief, anguish and frustration”.
“I never believed that something as tragic as the Grenfell fire could have an effect on my life, but then cladding of my own building was declared unsafe. So things in the world are interrelated and can affect anyone.”
Mr Alla believed that the decision to go to tribunal, taken by FirstPort, helped Barratt make its decision to intervene. The leaseholders were represented by barrister Amanda Gourlay, who was recommended to them by LKP.
Mr Alla also gave fulsome thanks to Steve Reed, Labour MP for Croydon North, for his intervention in the issue, and paid tribute to the press for taking the issue up.
Finally, he thanked Amanda Gourlay for “doing such a stellar job presenting the case in tribunal and making sure that it got the required hearing”.