A SOUTHAMPTON flat-owner says she has been struggling with panic attacks and anxiety over not knowing when flammable insulation will be removed from her home.

Natasha Letchford, who owns a sixth-floor flat at Empire View near to Southampton Central train station, says she goes to bed every night “not knowing" how quickly the nine-storey building "would go up if there was a fire”

It comes after she labelled a new £3.5billion Government fund to help end the “cladding scandal” as "disappointing".

The scheme has been put in place to remove safety issues following the horrific Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017.

Daily Echo: Natasha Letchford, 29, with her partner Jake Ellis, 30.Natasha Letchford, 29, with her partner Jake Ellis, 30.


Residents across the country have said they feel “trapped” and that homes are “worthless” as structural issues on buildings across the country remain unresolved in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

But Ms Letchford, 29, who is a campaigner for the End Our Cladding Scandal group, said the group estimates the total bill as high as £15 billion.

National opposition leaders have previously claimed up to 11 million people are at risk from life-changing costs and unsellable properties amid the UK’s cladding crisis.

Ms Letchford said: “My fear is huge bills. Obviously some if it will be covered, but if they say for example, we’re covering the cladding but we’re not covering the fire breaks and we’re not covering the internal compartmentation, we could still be face a bill of £20-, £30-, £40,000."

She says her nine-storey building’s High Pressure Laminate (HPL) cladding needs to be removed, while its flammable Kingspan K15 insulation is the same as that used on Grenfell.

Daily Echo: Empire ViewEmpire View

Buying her sixth-floor flat through a shared ownership scheme, Ms Letchford owns 35% but her lease terms means she could be facing 100% of remediation costs.

Her housing association has successfully applied to the Government’s £1 billion building safety fund, but it is not clear what work will be covered.

She added: “My worst fear is that I can’t pay the costs and then I could be made bankrupt, which means that I would lose my house, but I’d also lose my job because as a qualified solicitor you can’t be bankrupt. That is my absolute worst nightmare.

“It really isn’t just the financial aspect, it is being trapped in somewhere that you feel unsafe,” she said, adding: “People just don’t know how they are going to pay the bills, don’t know what they are going to do with their lives.”