Chalcots estate: Camden Council take over from Rydon as evacuation fall out rumbles on
Contractor responsible for flammable cladding to leave
06 July, 2018 — By William McLennan
Flammable cladding has been stripped from the towers
Camden Council have said they will take over maintenance at the Chalcots estate from Monday, as the dispute over who was responsible for fire safety failings continues.
The Town Hall last year stopped paying the PFI firm – known as Partners for Improvement in Camden (PFIC) – which was responsible for the doomed overhaul of the high-rise towers. Some 3,000 people were evacuated from their homes on the estate last June
PFIC subsequently went bust, filing for insolvency in May. But Rydon, the lead contractor hired by PFIC, has remained on site providing maintenance and repairs for the past two months.
Camden Council wrote to residents today and said: “We can confirm that we will be taking responsibility for additional repairs and maintenance from the contractors Rydon Maintenance Ltd from Monday.”
Rydon, however, appeared to contradict the council and said: “Rydon continue to carry out and deliver its maintenance obligations throughout the Chalcots Estate and remain, ready, willing and able to do so.”
The firm carried out the refurbishment that included the installation of flammable cladding and had responsibility for maintaining the five tower blocks.
Similar cladding was used at Grenfell Tower, where Rydon also carried out refurbishment works.
It has denied any wrongdoing over the fire tragedy in west London and said that its refurbishment of the tower block was in line with government standards and regulations. An inquiry is ongoing.
In a deal signed in 2006, PFIC was to be paid £150million to refurbish and maintain the estate in Adelaide Road until 2021. It is estimated PFIC will lose out on £36million as a result of the decision to withhold payment.
The move was part of the council’s attempt to recover the costs of the emergency operation and subsequent safety works that are expected to total more than £70million.
Chalcots was one of a handful of estates across the country to be refurbished under controversial Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) – the method of funding championed by Tony Blair’s New Labour.
Tenants in Camden consistently appealed for improvement works on the leaking estate to be paid for using direct investment from government, but their pleas were ignored.