Jenni Garratt was 11 when the Wicker Riverside building on the bank of Sheffield’s River Don was approved – but that decision has left her putting her “future on hold”.
First-time buyer Jenni, 24, became a leaseholder at the 10-storey block in April 2019 and was full of excitement to start her new life in Sheffield after a year spent saving money living with her parents post-university.
But the pandemic also spelled the beginning of Jenni’s building safety crisis nightmare. As well as dangerous cladding, a litany of fire defects was uncovered. Flammable insulation, a smoke ventilation system that “never worked” and compartmentation problems that prevent a fire from being contained dog the 132-flat property.
The matter came to a head in December when, two weeks before Christmas and ahead of a third national Covid-19 lockdown, residents from the top five floors were evacuated by the fire service over safety fears.
The Westminster government acted to fast-track part of the £30m Waking Watch Relief Fund to pay for a 24-hour service where fire marshals patrol the building.
But Jenni, who lives on the second floor of the building, claims the £137,000 from the fund took two months to arrive and was short of the £197,000 residents had spent on fire patrols at the property, including a £600-a-month bill for Jenni.