RESIDENTS living in an apartment complex in Runcorn fear their insurance costs could top £1million due to dangerous cladding.

Flammable cladding across the country – including The Deck – will eventually be replaced following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire which claimed 72 lives.

Until then, apartment owners are kept awake at night not only by safety risks, but spiralling costs including insurance, which for the whole development has gone up 1,400 per cent to £504,000 since 2019.

On average, that amounts to £2,000 per annum for every one of the 288 flats across the six blocks.

Leaseholder Julie Fraser bought her two-bed apartment to give her security in retirement.

Instead, she and fellow residents are under ‘incredible financial strain' while living in apartments that are currently worthless and unsellable.

She said: “The insurance is sky high, and we know that come the end of this year, the management company will have to reapply for the insurance again.

“It was difficult enough to get it this year and the premium was over £500,000.”

Julie, founder of the Liverpool Cladiators action group, continued: “If everything stays the same, the insurance is certainly not going to go down.

“Are we going to be talking about £1 million for insurance? And we have to pay that.”

Campaigners and the Labour opposition say the Government’s Building Safety Bill, drafted in response to Grenfell, will not do enough to protect existing leaseholders from safety issues or the financial burden.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Under the legislation, there would be no help towards rising insurance costs or the new fire alarm systems that cost each Deck leaseholder £1,200 on average.

Only the three taller blocks at The Deck qualify for repair work to be funded from the Government’s Building Safety Fund, with leaseholders in the three shorter blocks expected to pick up the bill by taking out loans.

Because of the way the lease is structured, repair costs may end up being shared across all six, and residents fear being left with debts totalling £30,000 to 40,000 each.

Weaver Vale Labour MP Mike Amesbury has met residents of The Deck in his capacity as Shadow Housing Minister, along with his friend and neighbouring MP Derek Twigg, who represents their constituency.

Summing up for the opposition in Parliament during the second reading of the Building Safety Bill this week, Mr Amesbury asked: “Will it deal with the horrendous and astronomical rise in insurance premiums that members across this chamber have highlighted in today’s second reading? No.

“Will it change the size and scope of the Building Safety Fund to help constituents at The Deck in my honourable friend’s constituency in the Runcorn part of Halton where one part of the development is below 18 metres – but still at risk – and the other is above 18 metres? No.

“It definitely won’t help the likes of Julie and those constituents in Runcorn.”

Speaking afterwards, he said: “Up to 11million people may be affected by the cladding crisis, as well other safety defects. The toll on people’s mental health has been immense.

“They have been betrayed by a Government that promised on at least 17 occasions these innocent victims of the building safety scandal would not be expected to foot the bill.

“Of course, what we have is a Government that is far too close to developers.”

He added: “Labour’s approach would be to establish a Building Works Agency, identify problem buildings, fund the repair work upfront and then recover costs from the companies that created this mess.”