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Cladding crisis: south London flats could be demolished and rebuilt after serious safety flaws revealed

The Citiscape building before its white and blue panels were removed and residents evacuated  (PA)
The Citiscape building before its white and blue panels were removed and residents evacuated (PA)

A block of flats in south London could be razed to the ground because demolishing it will be cheaper than trying to fix its critical safety flaws.

The drastic move follows a post-Grenfell inspection of Citiscape, a Barratt-owned building in Croydon, carried out in 2019.

It revealed that the 20-year-old building was shrouded in flammable ACM cladding.

And when the blue and white panels were stripped away it became clear that Citiscape’s concrete frame was failing leaving it at risk of collapse.

The building was considered so dangerous that residents were evacuated in September 2019, with Barratt funding alternative accommodation for them until the end of 2020.

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Then, at the start of 2021, Barratt, which had already spent almost £15.8m on temporary housing and remediation work, agreed to purchase the 95 flats at the 20-year-old block at an estimated cost of £30m. It was the first such buyback by a major developer since the cladding crisis emerged.

Two new redbrick blocks with 144 flats have been proposed for the site (Barratt London)
Two new redbrick blocks with 144 flats have been proposed for the site (Barratt London)

The building is currently propped up with scaffolding.

Now it has emerged that Barratt has lodged a planning application for a “comprehensive redevelopment” of the site, demolishing the current building and replacing it with two new redbrick blocks containing 144 flats.

A spokesman for Barratt said that it believed the blame for the Citiscape fiasco lay with the structural engineering firm which had designed it and the contractor who built it.

“Barratt is actively seeking to recover costs from third parties,” he said.

The structural engineering firm has been approached for comment.