Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the government will be “looking into” the ongoing cladding scandal at The Mill complex on the Ipswich Waterfront. 

The situation was raised in Wednesday's Prime Minister’s Questions by Ipswich MP Tom Hunt. 

The Mill’s cladding problems have been ongoing for more than 10 years. 

In 2013, the complex was deemed unsafe after gale-force winds tore cladding from the tower. In 2014, fire experts warned that cladding on The Mill was so unsafe that all residents should be moved out. 

In 2020, an investigation from this newspaper found that parts of the building were still wrapped in the cladding. 

Ipswich Star: The Mill is the tallest building in Suffolk. Image: NewsquestThe Mill is the tallest building in Suffolk. Image: Newsquest (Image: Newsquest)

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Hunt hit out at the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), an Irish financial entity set up after the Irish banking crisis.

He said: “For around a decade, over 200 of my constituents in The Mill complex in Ipswich have been caught in the cruellest form of limbo.    

"There are deep structural problems with the building and cladding problems.    

"A few years ago, they (NAMA) got about £15million out of court settlement to make a contribution towards the cladding costs.   

"Will the Prime Minister talk to the Irish Taoiseach to raise this immoral case, and also meet with me to discuss the way forward for my constituents?” 

Ipswich Star: Tom Hunt said that the 200 residents of The Mill had been trapped in 'the cruellest form of limbo' for 10 years. Image: House of CommonsTom Hunt said that the 200 residents of The Mill had been trapped in 'the cruellest form of limbo' for 10 years. Image: House of Commons (Image: House of Commons)

When The Mill’s original developer, Wharfside Regeneration Limited, entered administration in 2010, the freehold was placed into the hands of RSM, an accountancy firm tasked with the ongoing care and administration of the property. 

The £15million received by RSM in a settlement over the cladding was used to pay its creditors, the NAMA. 

A spokesman for the NAMA said that the agency had no role in the construction or maintenance of The Mill, and currently has “no involvement” with the property at all. 

The spokesman said: “[NAMA’s] sole role was that of a secured lender to the company which had developed the property and gone into administration prior to NAMA acquiring the relevant loans. 

“The administrator, in accordance with its legal obligations to creditors, made a distribution of £7.9m from funds generated during the administration process to NAMA, to offset debts owed by the company to NAMA.   

Ipswich Star: Prime Minister Rishi SunakPrime Minister Rishi Sunak (Image: PA)

“Following receipt of that distribution NAMA has had no involvement with this property.” 

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Sunak said that he was “very sorry” to hear of residents’ plight, and that he would ensure the government “looked into the details” and came back to Mr Hunt “in shortest order about how we can support him and his constituents”. 

Mr Hunt said he had also raised the ongoing cladding issues at The Mill, Cardinal Lofts and St Francis Tower at a meeting of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee.