THE shadow building safety minister has criticised a developer over delays in the replacement of flammable cladding at a Cheshire apartment complex.

Taylor Wimpey had told Mike Amesbury MP work on the six blocks it built, called The Decks, Runcorn, would start in February 2024, after missing its original start date of this month.

Now, the builder says the remediation programme will not begin until April 2024 due to an oversight.

Flammable cladding across the country must be replaced following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, involving unsafe building materials, that tragically claimed 72 lives.

Mr Amesbury, as well as being the MP for Weaver Vale, has been shadow minister for building safety and homelessness since September.

He said: “This is not good enough. Leaseholders’ mental health is being impacted by fire safety risks and spiralling costs, including insurance premiums, as well as being trapped in unsellable homes.

“They just want their buildings fixed after waiting far too long. Continually changing the start date just makes matters worse.”

Mr Amesbury says he sought an update from Taylor Wimpey CEO Jennie Daly on the remediation programme after recently visiting The Decks.

The CEO initially told him work would start in February, but has since apologised for the confusion after the MP discovered the project was slated for April 2024.

She has promised to ensure all necessary resource is put towards ‘bringing forward the April 2024 date as a matter of priority’.

Mr Amesbury added: “Leaseholders at The Decks are obviously pleased the buildings are going to be made safe, but nobody is convinced by ever changing deadlines.

“These delays could have financial consequences for them, having already been hit by escalating insurance costs as victims of this building safety scandal.

“Insurance costs at The Decks had rocketed to more than £500,000 across the six buildings.

“This reduced to a figure of more than £200,000, but only on the basis remediation work would start this November. These delays give rise to fears an unexpected huge bill is about to land.

“I would hope the insurance company makes a common-sense decision with regards the fees they intend to levy.”

Mr Amesbury has also asked Taylor Wimpey to engage directly with leaseholders and residents as they previously felt ‘kept in the dark’.

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “We understand the concern of residents over the delays in remedial works starting at The Decks.

"We contacted all leaseholders and residents on November 7th to update them with the latest information regarding the planned remedial work and to reaffirm our commitment to completing this as quickly as possible.

“We have also been in direct contact with Mike Amesbury MP to reassure him that Taylor Wimpey is committed to delivering the necessary fire safety remediation works at the development.”