The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed progress announced today in the Welsh Government’s building safety announcement but have warned significant gaps remain.
The announcement given by Environment Minister Julie James MS confirmed that 9 property developers have now signed up to the Welsh Government’s “Developers Pact” agreeing in theory their responsibility to remediate buildings they constructed with safety defects.
The announcement follows a lengthy campaign by leaseholders in the five years since the Grenfell Tower Disaster.
However, three major developers are still yet to reply.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have stated that due to the Welsh Government’s failure to work with the UK Government on the Building Safety Act, they are left with little to no options to deal with the property developers who have refused to come to the table and sign up to the agreement meaning that it could be another three years until the equivalent legislation comes into effect.
It is also not clear from the Welsh Government’s announcement whether they intend to adopt the UK Government Building Safety Act in full or move ahead with their own act.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“I am of course glad to finally see some movement from Labour on this issue. I particularly welcome that the Welsh Government has listened to the Liberal Democrats calls to name and shame the property developers for not agreeing to carry out remediation work and to reimburse survey work carried out by leaseholders which is something we had really been pushing for.
“However there remain a number of significant gaps in the announcement today. Due to the lack of legislation in Wales, those homeowners in properties that were built by property developers refusing to engage with the process are effectively being asked to sit tight and wait after 5 years of already doing just that.
“As an interim measure, we would like to see the three developers refusing to engage barred from any work contracted by the Welsh Government or local authorities in Wales.
“We also don’t have an answer to what will be done about all the money victims have had to spend on waking watches, extortionate service charges and in many cases court cases against developers over the last few years while the Welsh Government failed to act. We want to see this reimbursed.
“Overall communication from the Welsh Government to the victims continues to be extremely poor. Victims and managing agents have spent the morning finding out by drip feed from the Welsh Government press releases rather than the Welsh Government engaging with them directly. This has been a feature throughout the ordeal, with the Welsh Government not engaging directly with victims or including them in discussions about resolutions.
“I and the Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to securing the answers to the questions left by today’s announcement and will keep holding Labour to account to ensure victims of this scandal receive the justice they deserve.”