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Cladding-row firm wins Manchester town hall contract worth millions

LENDLEASE won a multimillion-pound contract today to renovate Manchester Town Hall, despite being mired in a row over dangerous cladding.

Residents at two unsafe apartment blocks built by Australian construction giant in the city are furious that the company has won more work from the authorities.

Lendlease is refusing to pay for emergency repairs to Vallea Court and Cypress Place after inspectors had found Grenfell-type flammable cladding.

Residents who bought the apartments as leaseholders now face bills of £10,000 to replace the cladding.

The row is set to deepen after Manchester City Council awarded Lendlease a £190 million contract to refurbish the iconic town hall, a Grade I listed building.

Angry residents at the apartment blocks tweeted: “We are facing financial ruin, live in a dangerous building and our original developer has landed a major contract for the council that is supposed to represent us.”

They said: “Our hard-earned money and rates going to Lendlease profits is very hard for us to deal with.

“Sadly we weren’t listened to ... we are beyond disappointed.”

However, Councillor Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, hailed the firm’s win of the contract as a “milestone.”

Mr Murphy said: “There aren’t many construction firms with the expertise and resources required to deliver a heritage project of this scale and complexity on behalf of the city.”

Lendlease manager Neil Martin said the company “has a long track record of working with heritage buildings and enhancing them.”

Jack Simpson, of Inside Housing magazine, tweeted: “There will be a lot of residents disappointed by the award after a year of lobbying the company to cover re-cladding costs.”

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire previously said that building owners and developers “must replace dangerous ACM [aluminium composite material] cladding, and the costs must not be passed on to leaseholders.”

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