07 Jun Arsenal FC accused of delaying critical cladding fire safety work until after football season
Arsenal FC has been accused of “delaying” life-saving fire safety work until after the football season ends.
A report by LBC uncovered an email in which Arsenal still haven’t signed off scaffolding and works to remove the cladding on residential tower blocks at the Emirates Stadium. Within the email, the Premier League club says the work can start “after the football season”.
Residents of the tower blocks received funding from the Government for the essential fire safety work six months ago, yet due to Arsenal being the “named freeholder’ they have been unable to start.
In 2019, the blocks were identified as being victims of the cladding scandal, when a survey found the blocks have missing fire breaks, and unsafe insulation that needs to be replaced. The bill to remedy the issues was estimated at £50-80,000 per flat, but the residents received Government funding for remediation last December. However, residents claim the football club won’t let the work begin.
Speaking to LBC, resident Alex Fisher said: “We thought it would just be a tick box exercise, that someone in their lawyer’s office would just say ‘yes just crack on with your fire safety works’.”
“And since then – Arsenal have just been delaying the works. The whole time, coming up with random excuses like they need to check the paperwork.”
Emails sent from an Arsenal representative to local MP Jeremy Corbyn last month, show an Arsenal representative stating: “We have agreed with the scaffolding placement and the work is due to start as soon as the [football] season ends.”
Alex added: “It just seems that they are putting football and profit above people’s safety.”
The emails have been forwarded to managing agent Newlon, who replied to LBC: “We most certainly have never agreed with Arsenal Football Club to delay the works to coincide with the football season, though their correspondence could be shedding light on their own intentions in that regard.”
In a statement, Arsenal said: “We take all health and safety matters extremely seriously. We have been working on the completion of the necessary documentation together with Newlon, and we are committed to providing Newlon with all necessary assistance to enable them to carry out these important works as soon as possible.”
Newlon couldn’t “make any comment in relation to Arsenal Football Club” and said: “Discussions are progressing between ourselves and the Club regarding access for the works. Our residents’ safety is our primary concern and we look forward to starting on site as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson from Kier, which built the tower blocks, said: “We are aware of the alleged issues at Queensland Road and we are continuing to work collaboratively with Newlon and the design teams to progress a solution. As such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”