Thursday, December 8, 2022

Residents vote for demolition of Blackshots tower blocks

THURROCK Council is set to move ahead with plans to demolish three dilapidated tower blocks reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

Earlier this year the council announced it intended to demolish three Blackshots Towers rather than refurbish them and councillors are now being asked to sanction £200,000 be set aside to start the scheme.

The move follows a consultation of tower block residents in which 71 per cent of residents who responded calling for the blocks to be demolished rather than prolong the life of the buildings.

One of the 72 respondents said: “These flats are a huge burden to the tenants. They are extremely expensive to heat and purchase electricity.

“They cause severe health problems from damp and mould. They are not large enough for families with limited storage and space.”

Another said: “The buildings are 100 per cent at the end of their life and is about time they came down.”

Kier Hardie House, Bevan House and Morrison House are located in the Blackshots area of Grays. The three tower blocks provide 168 mostly council let homes.

The council is carrying out a refurbishment of nine tower blocks, including remedial work of the three Blackshots towers. The current proposals for the Blackshots will address some immediate issues in respect of the existing external cladding system, the ventilation of the communal areas and weatherproofing of the structure.

However, a report to be discussed by the housing overview and scrutiny committee on Monday says intermediate works ahead of pending regeneration to the three blocks, would still mean spending in excess of £10million across the three blocks, whilst not upgrading essential items such as windows, and roof coverings.

The report adds: “Because of the condition and the standards of these blocks, it is clear that even with a full refurbishment giving a 25-year life span these blocks will no longer meet residents’ aspirations.

!” Accordingly, an initial survey of residents’ wishes was carried out. The responses were received of which 51, or 71 per cent, expressed a preference for demolition, re-planning and redevelopment of the estate. In light of this, and the condition issues it is now critical that the principal of redevelopment is established, and that detailed design and development of proposals is commenced in order that residents can be further consulted on the future of their homes and the wider estate.”

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