RESIDENTS living in a block of flats in Basingstoke with dangerous cladding have been told by a developer that work to remove it will not go ahead when originally planned.

As previously reported, the external cladding at Crown Heights, which has around 250 flats, contains the flammable material 'expanded polystyrene' and features no fire breaks.

It means that should there be a blaze, it could engulf the whole building similar to what occurred at Grenfell Tower in 2017.

In 2021 Crown Heights failed its external wall system fire review certificate after it was found to be covered in the flammable material expanded polystyrene (EPS).

READ MORE: BDBC: Call for more to be done to help Crown Heights residents

It was also found that more than 80 per cent of the building is clad in an STO-insulated render, which is a coating traditionally made of a mix of lime, water and aggregate.

The original developer of the building, Barratt, indicated that it will pay for work to remove it and expected to start by September this year.

The Gazette has asked the developer for an update after concerns were aired in a recent Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council meeting regarding whether the work will start on time.

A spokesperson from Barratt Developments confirmed work won't be starting until November, two months after the promised start date.

They said: “We are sorry there has been a small delay to the start of the building works at Crown Heights, this was due to the contractor carrying out some additional pre-construction preparations.

"We have already let the residents know that work will now start from early November instead and we are meeting with the residents’ association on Thursday to confirm all of the timings and the plan for these building works with them.”

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The borough council has also provided an update on the works.

A spokesperson said: "The responsibility for the work sits with Barratt who constructed the building in 2000. The council did not carry out the building control for the construction, as builders can choose not to use the local authority for that.

"The work to remove and replace the cladding required a planning application, which was approved. As part of the planning process, the newly formed building safety regulator was consulted to ensure the works planned to meet the most recent regulatory framework in relation to fire safety. 

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"From the planning perspective, the applicants have three years to commence the work, which is the standard time limit. 

"The works will need to comply with building regulations. The council has been in discussions with the contractor regarding the submission of a building regulation application, but, as yet, this has not been submitted. 

"September was Barratt’s initial estimate but for a project of this size, it would be understandable if there was a slight delay and the contractor does not have to inform the council of a start date. However, we have contacted the contractor and asked for an update."

Borough Cllr Arun Mummalaneni said he is "disheartened" to hear about the delay.

He added: "As a result, residents are facing significant challenges, particularly leaseholders who find themselves burdened with trapped mortgages, high-interest rates, and elevated maintenance costs, largely attributed to insurance.

"One of the distressing aspects of this situation is that councillors are often the last to be informed about such delays."