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UK News Robert Jenrick Gives Millions To Firms That Built Fire Risk Flats

23:20  30 october  2020
23:20  30 october  2020 Source:   huffingtonpost.co.uk

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a group of people standing in front of a building: The Paragon estate in Brentford, west London, owned by Notting Hill Genesis, where residents of 1,059 flats were asked to evacuate over safety concerns while investigations were made © Leon Neal via Getty Images The Paragon estate in Brentford, west London, owned by Notting Hill Genesis, where residents of 1,059 flats were asked to evacuate over safety concerns while investigations were made

The government has allocated millions of pounds to associations with a record of building homes dogged by fire concerns in its latest push to tackle rough sleeping.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick announced on Wednesday evening that £150m in funding had been allocated for 3,300 supported homes for rough sleepers, to be built by the end of March 2021.

It comes five months after a similar announcement stated that the higher figure of £160m had been made available to build the same 3,300 supported homes – by the later date of May 2021.

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Robert Edward Jenrick (born 9 January 1982) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government since 2019. He has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Newark since 2014.

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Details of the funding allocation to different councils have been released, as well as a list of the registered scheme providers in London.

One such provider is Cromwood Housing Ltd, a development company focused on social housing, which has been allocated almost £9.5m.

The Guardian reported in 2018 that the group had been served with a notice from Croydon housing officers in November 2017 after a series of fire risks were found in a property.

The notice was focused on a home that had been turned into four micro-flats, each of which measured around 10 square metres. Alongside another property developer, Cromwood also reportedly rented out “micro-flats” in an illegally-subdivided home in Brent so tiny they were deemed harmful to tenants.

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In 2016 The Guardian also reported on another property partially run by Cromwood, this time in Hounslow, in which dozens of asylum seekers – including 15 children – were crammed into a filthy, overcrowded property.

At the time of the report Cromwood, and fellow developer Clearspring, passed up the opportunity to comment, instead deflecting blame to the Home Office.

A government spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “Providers are monitored extremely closely to ensure they meet required standards and the contracts include measures to ensure any issues are quickly addressed.”

a man with a bicycle in front of a building: The Paragon estate in Brentford, west London, owned by Notting Hill Genesis, where residents of 1,059 flats were asked to evacuate over safety concerns while investigations were made © Leon Neal via Getty Images The Paragon estate in Brentford, west London, owned by Notting Hill Genesis, where residents of 1,059 flats were asked to evacuate over safety concerns while investigations were made

The Cromwood Group works with 15 local authorities across London, as well as Manchester City Council. The group’s CEO Moses Hirschler told the Big Issue in 2017: “We started because we wanted to help disadvantaged people in real need of housing.”

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Robert Jenrick announced a "permission in principle" will be given to developments on land designated "for renewal" to speed-up building . It comes after the PM pledged £5bn to " build , build , build " to help soften the economic impact of coronavirus.

I am a shared ownership resident in a London block of flats who recently tried to staircase my mortgage. However, the lender was worried my 'I can't sell and am paying £200 a month over the odds': I can't remortgage until the housing authority proves my shared-ownership flat is not a fire risk !

He added: “We work hard, day and night, to find them a decent home.”

More than £4m has also been handed to Notting Hill Genesis (NHG), one of London and the south-east’s biggest housing associations.

NHG hit headlines just days ago when it emerged that all 858 residents of its Paragon Estate in west London had been told to evacuate immediately over fire safety concerns.

Inside Housing reported that concerns about the estate dated back to 2017, when the association was forced to spend £8m removing dangerous cladding and replacing missing fire breaks. It wasn’t until October 2020, however, that the complex was deemed too dangerous for continued occupation.

In a press release issued on Wednesday evening the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced that 276 schemes across England had had funding allocated, including 38 in London to provide a total of 904 new homes.

Outside of London, 238 councils have received approval to move to the next phase of development, encompassing 2,430 new homes. Adding that figure to the homes planned in the capital, the scheme amounts to 3,334 new units of supported accommodation.

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Robert McGill had a house in Spiridonovka Street and together with his wife Jane was a prominent member of the British community in Moscow. F. Another spectacular example of British architecture in Moscow is the old building of TsUM next to the Bolshoy and Maly theatres.

Due to constantly-shifting circumstances and flaws with the counting method is impossible to garner a true idea of how many people are street homeless, but the most recent official count – carried out pre-Covid in 2019 – found that there were 4,266 rough sleepers in England.

Jenrick has declared that these 3,300 new homes, part of an overall package of 6,000, will be ready by March 2021.

A government spokesperson told HuffPost UK on Thursday that MHCLG was working with councils to get the new houses “online” “at pace”, but repeatedly failed to confirm whether any physical work had started, just five months out from the deadline.

The department’s press release, issued on Wednesday, bore a striking similarity to the announcement made by Jenrick in May, but this time the funding appeared to have dropped by £10m.

When asked what had happened to that money, a government spokesperson told us cash was only approved for schemes deemed to have a “positive impact” and offered value-for-money, with the leftover amount going to support other work to support rough sleepers.

The £150m will fund the first phase of the project, the 3,300 homes due by March 2021. No specific details about the schemes have yet been released, but the units are expected to be largely comprised of repurposed existing property that has been repaired and refurbished. A government spokesperson described the work as consisting of “aquisitions, repairs, refurbishments, leasing, and modular building”.

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