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Search for firm to take on Chalcots challenge gets underway

Firms asked to declare interest in Blashford bids as ministers announced extra £3.5bn for leaseholders

12 February, 2021 — By Harry Taylor

Blashford Tower in the Chalcots was given a separate tendering process last year

THE Town Hall has begun the process of asking firms to come forward with bids for the £22million project to reclad Blashford tower – parts of the Chalcots estate.

It has invited contractors to declare interest by March 11, with a formal tendering process beginning in April. According to details published last week, it is expected that the work will take more than two years.

The 19-storey tower was given a separate process late last year, due to it having a different design to the estate’s other towers: Bray, Taplow, Dorney and Burnham.

A £100m deal for the whole of the estate was initially agreed with Wates, but Camden then pulled the plug on it in the summer last year over its cost. Residents have now faced more than three years of disruption, with work possibly set to go on until 2024.

The council has now lodged a formal planning application to reclad the five blocks with an aluminium panel façade, changes to windows and other changes.

On the windows, which have been a source of controversy over safety fears – the planning statement says the recent application ensures a “reduced risk of falling from windows”.

The towers were dramatically evacuated during a fire safety crisis in 2017 in the wake of post-Grenfell inspections.

Belsize councillor Steve Adams said the renewed plans were not vastly different from those lodged with the Town Hall in 2018, adding: “They’re catching up with the decisions that have been taken since then.”

Meanwhile, more than 70 private blocks in Camden are included in applications to a government fund to cover costs of removing cladding on fire advice. Leaseholders fear they will get the bill.

Yesterday (Wednesday), ministers pledged an extra £3.5 billion – on top of an original pot of £1.6 billion set aside for the works on towers.

The national group End Our Cladding Scandal, however, said it felt “betrayed”, warning the amount on offer would be insufficient and those in smaller blocks would still have to foot the bill.

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