THE Cube student accommodation gutted by fire last year will not receive any cash from a new £1.6 billion Government fund to remove cladding from high-rise buildings— despite the fact the material played a ‘major role in the rapid spread' of the blaze.

Both the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Home Secretary Priti Patel visited Bolton to see the devastating aftermath of the blaze ­— but now seven months later it has emerged no financial help will be given to The Cube, or any other student accommodation.

The Bolton News:

The fund, launched by the Government to remove unsafe cladding following the Grenfell fire on high-rise buildings, has been slammed as “inadequate” and “huge let down”.

The Cube does not qualify for funding from The Building Safety Fund on two fronts, because it's student accommodation and is under 18 metres high.

This is despite the fact there have been calls to add the type of cladding on The Cube to the list of materials to be removed from buildings.

The Government says it not eligible as the fund is designed to relieve leaseholders who are facing costs being passed on by building owners. But student accommodation is not eligible for funding to remove cladding from high-rises where flats are rented out either.

But other building owners, say the Government, are being given” unprecedented support” to keep residents safe.

Students were forced to flee their flats as flames tore through The Cube in November. An investigation was launched, including examining the cladding covering the student apartment block which is said to have partly caused the rapid spread of blaze.

The Bolton News:

Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Nick Peel said: “This let down is particularly worrying for Bolton in the aftermath of The Cube fire on Bradshawgate, as we now find that student accommodation, like the Cube, has been arbitrarily excluded from eligibility to the fund.

“Boris Johnson was happy to pose for the cameras in the aftermath of the fire. We didn’t know at that time that he was planning no help whatsoever.”

Cllr Richard Silvester, Labour’s shadow housing and planning spokesman said: “This is a massive let down, not only for Bolton, but for residents across the country who are living in dangerous buildings.

“The fund is completely inadequate; it only covers recladding, but it should obviously cover all fire safety defects. Now we have been told that it does not cover buildings such as The Cube, which has suffered its own disaster.

“This is a huge smack in the face to all those who are tirelessly campaigning in the aftermath of Grenfell.”

The Bolton News:

(The Cube is undergoing building work after the fire)

The fund has also further been criticised by Labour councillors, who said that a parliamentary inquiry into the fund proposals found that the fund will cover only a third of the 1,700 most dangerous high-rise blocks, and will not cover work on a further 9,600 buildings “that are likely have flammable cladding.

A Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “We are clear that building owners must keep their residents safe. In this particular case, it is clear that it was the responsibility of the building owner to ensure that immediate action took place. 

“We expect owners of buildings of any height to ensure it complies with building regulations and we have reached an agreement with local leaders to ensure that this important work can continue safely during the pandemic.”

Speaking about the fund, a spokesman said:”The Government has provided £1.6 billion to ensure unsafe ACM and non-ACM cladding is removed swiftly from high-rise buildings, and is bringing forward the biggest change in building safety in a generation.”

A new parliamentary select committee report has called for money to be made available for buildings of any height to fix all serious fire safety defects, potentially costing up to £15 billion.

The Bolton News:

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (HCLGC) said the height threshold has been “an area of particular concern”.

“Several witnesses noted that the two most high-profile fires in the last year — at The Cube in Bolton and at Samuel Garside House in Barking — were in buildings below 18 metres,” it said.

But the spokesman foR Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government said there was flexibility over height of buildings if they are close to 18 metres.