Residents protest against escalating surcharges and unsafe cladding

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

On Saturday 5th June, High Point Village residents and leaseholders held a protest against Irish Property developer Ballymore who are refusing to cover the costs of making their flats safe.

Whilst it is unusual for leaseholders to protest, as it dramatically reduces the chances of buying their properties, the situation they are in means they face financial ruin anyway hence have little else to lose.

One of the leaseholders in High Point Village, whose service charge has increased by 67% since 2012 to about £5,000, told the FT, “We are trapped. Other people have tried to sell but [buyers] see the service charge and laugh and walk away.”

Like other Irish developers in London, Ballymore keep the freehold and management of their sites as long-term investment assets.

The Leaseholders are calling on Ballymore to cover all the costs of making High Point Village safe to live in; including the costs of removing the unsafe cladding, similar to that which lead to the deaths of 72 residents of the Grenfell Tower in Kensington.

The protest was attended by the local MP John McDonnell as well as several local Councillors.

Botwell Councillor Janet Gardener told Hillingdon Vision why she attended the protest:

"My concern is and always will be for the safety of the residents, I find it disgusting that the residents of High Point Village put their trust in Ballymore when they purchased all or part of the properties they live in, only to discover after the Grenfell disaster that the building was in fact sub standard and not adequately fire proofed".

"Ballymore rather that doing all they could to make good on THEIR mistake, they then had the bare faced cheek to demand that the residents pay to to make the product they sold to them safe".

"I want Ballymore to admit that they are guilty and the residents are the innocent ones, who until this is sorted out, remain effectively in limbo, unable to move if they want to, because their properties are worthless until the remedial work is done".

On the situation the High Point Village Leaseholders are faced with, Ballymore commented:

We sincerely regret any impact these historic issues may have had on residents, but we are now in a period of change, one in which we are investing significant resources in better communications and engagement with residents and our resident associations.

Cover photo credit: Rajesh Grewal