A CASH-STRAPPED council is bracing itself to potentially stump up another £5m to complete cladding works at a ‘hazardous’ apartment block as costs spiral to nearly £30m.

Slough Borough Council bought the owner of renovated office block Nova House in Slough, Ground Rent Estates 5 Limited, in 2018 for £1.

The 68-flat development in Buckingham Gardens failed two inspections after the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017. As a result, the council was encouraged to be involved by the government and decided to step in to try and sort the problem out itself.

Costs to replace the cladding and install other safety measures at the residential block were originally estimated to be £4m, however, the latest projections show that is expected to spiral to £28.4m.

READ MORE: Slough's Nova House safety works will hit £19.6m

The refurbishment programme is currently paused, pending the availability of additional funding.

Slough Borough Council, which already loaned £10m to the project, is bracing itself to potentially lend another £5m for the works to continue in advance of any money being recovered from legal proceedings or a future £4m grant from Homes England, which has already loaned £9.2m.

Speaking at Thursday’s cabinet asset disposals committee, Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab: Britwell & Northborough) said ‘significant other structural weaknesses or defects’ were found that were not sorted out when Nova House was converted from an office block to residential.

According to Cllr Anderson, Homes England won’t award any more money until it is confident the project can go through by the council loaning further funds.

Cllr Anderson, council leader James Swindlehurst (Lab: Cippenham Green), and deputy council leader Pavitar Kaur Mann (Lab: Britwell & Northborough), said this was “not an ideal situation”.

Cllr Swindlehurst said: “We have had some grants and other things from the building safety fund to try and help things out but the issue is that this [£5m loan] prevents it sitting there for nine months while everyone waits for an insurance claim to allow it to carry on.

“The nervousness is though that we can’t offer an unlimited loan facility to continue to fund works.

READ MORE: Slough Council 'will recoup' costs to remove Grenfell-like cladding

“We’ve had legal advice that we’re likely to see a great chunk of all this back, so in that sense, we’re fairly confident in terms of why we are carrying on and it means the work gets done quicker and we resolve the situation quickly.”

The local authority is taking legal action against Nova House’s warranty provider, and Cllr Mann said a court date is expected this year.

Without naming any confidential figures, Cllr Wayne Strutton (Ind: Haymill & Lynch Hill) said the legal cost is “exceptionally high,” adding: “Why haven’t we taken and pushed for legal action quicker because we’re having these issues with the insurance company?

“This seems to be a failure in us taking a strong enough stance on this with the insurers.”

The cabinet is to make a final decision on the loan at a meeting on Monday, March 20.