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Against the background of the hearings in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 2 , the Government has written a further open letter to “Residential Property Developers” that makes for interesting reading.
In our report here, we reviewed Michael Gove’s letter of 10 January 2022. The letter of 3 February 2022, sent from Richard Goodman, the Director-General of Safer and Greener Buildings, part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (the DLUHC) re-iterates the request for data relating to 11 metre + buildings; and sets out the “commitments expected from developers” which are in summary:
Developers who do not agree
The DLUHC’s letter states clearly that it is intended that the finally agreed commitments will be legal binding and sets out the following direct statement on its approach going forward:
“Those who agree to fulfil the commitments set out will continue to enjoy the benefits of the Government’s services and support on financing, procurement, planning, building control, housing investment, and industry development and leadership. Those who are unwilling to meet these criteria will not, and the Secretary of State has made clear he is willing to explore taking further steps to ensure the only participants in this market are those who have committed to resolving this crisis”.
Expected commitments from developers
The DLUHC’s letter appends a “Key Features Document” setting out the commitments expected from developers. Highlights in summary include the following.
The DLUHC has proposed bilateral engagement on this proposition but intends to make a public statement in mid February 2022 regarding commitments by developers (and product manufacturers).
It is of course some 4.5 years since the Grenfell tragedy – the Government has stated its clear intention to have these matters resolved in principle this year, through measures including the legislation of the Building Safety Bill and the proposed agreement with developers.
The ramifications will clearly be wide-ranging.