Leaseholders in Walworth lumped with a massive £2.6 million bill for cladding works have just been told they will be charged an additional £56,000 for additional fire safety developments.
Primary school teacher and mother of four Emma McGovern, pictured, spoke to the News last month when she and other leaseholders in Oyster Court were told they would need to foot the bill for £2.6 million of fire safety works in their building. £85,000 of this would be for the McGovern family.
Now leaseholders have been told they will need to pay an additional £56,000.
“Do they think we can actually afford nearly £100k?” said Emma. “What are they going to do – repossess the whole block?
“There’s such a lack of transparency. We literally had a zoom last week with Optivo last week, and they didn’t mention any of this.
“The money seems so excessive for what’s being done – especially because when we first got the flat, the package said our doors were already fire safe.
“The money is getting silly now.”
Last week, Oyster Court residents thought they were getting a moment of relief when managing housing company Optivo announced they planned to pause works for another three weeks.
An Optivo spokesperson said at the time: “We feel it’s sensible to wait a few more weeks so we can meet and speak to residents further and address any outstanding concerns.
“We’ve promised to contact residents by Friday 26 November with further details around when we’ll be carrying out the works.”
However, last weekend on November 6, Emma was shocked to receive a letter not with an invitation to discussion, but with a bill of £56,214.95 to be added to the existing £2.6 million.
The letter details that the additional works are primarily focused around making the doors safe, such as updating them to be fire safe and adjusting them to close properly to prevent the spread of smoke.
It was not clear to leaseholders why these works were not included in the original assessment of the building, or why they have only been told about them at this time.
The letter gave residents a date of December 7 to respond to the letter.
A spokesperson for Oyster Court said: “An independent fire risk assessor carried out a fire risk assessment (FRA) at Oyster Court in May 2021. The FRA is a legal requirement.
“All recommendations made for remedial action following the FRA are assigned a priority and should be completed within certain timescales.
“This is separate to the work to the external wall system at Oyster Court which has been delayed. We’ll continue to progress fire safety work to internal areas where these are required.
“Our priority is to ensure our residents are safe.”