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Graham Awards


Freeholder hits at government over slow responses on building safety row

The corporate freeholder which has been obliged to fix serious building safety issues at a tower block has issued a statement criticising the government over its speed of dealing with this issue.

Legal action was launched by the government against Grey GR in October 2022 following what House Secretary Michael Gove’s Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities calls “unacceptable delays in fixing multiple serious fire safety issues, first identified in the [Vista Tower, Stevenage] in 2019.” 

Following the outcome of the legal action, Gove issued a statement saying: “Leaseholders have lived with uncertainty for far too long while Grey GR delayed essential works to make homes safe. This decision is a victory for leaseholders in Vista Tower and across the country.”


Gove also criticised Grey GR's ultimate owner - Railpen, a scheme that manages £34 billion in assets - saying it was “hugely disappointing” that it had kept leaseholders “in limbo in this way.” For good measure, Gove added that: “Railway workers with their pensions invested in this fund, as well as innocent leaseholders, deserve better.”

A statement from a Grey GR spokesperson says: “The safety of residents has been and remains Grey GR's utmost priority. We have always been fully committed to remediating the buildings for which we are responsible, including Vista Tower, where we have made considerable progress remediating.”

It says it is “satisfied” at the judgement to issue a Remediation Order, but it emphasises that this is “not a fault-based order”.

It also says: “Contrary to DLUHC’s statement, internal works throughout the building were completed in 2023, and the extensive remedial work to the external façade began early this year.  We remain optimistic that we will finish all works by our provisional completion date of Autumn 2025, and the court acknowledged that the remediation order has no bearing on our ability to speed up the process.

"As detailed during the hearing, we have faced numerous delays during the remediation process in our attempts to seek the clarity needed from DLUHC to proceed at pace with remediation. We have engaged extensively with the Government throughout where it has been possible to do so, but have been met with slow – and in some cases no – responses to our enquiries, constantly changing deadlines and requirements, and a frequent moving of goalposts.”


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