MORE high-rise blocks of flats are set to disappear from the Rugby skyline after surveys found they were built to a poor standard fifty years ago.
The three blocks at Rounds Gardens will be torn down and replaced with new council housing – at an estimated cost of £28million – as they are ‘beyond economic repair’.
Surveys found that the blocks’ floors and walls vary in thickness, the strength of the buildings could not be accurately modelled, and that any repair work would not guarantee their long-term integrity.
Rugby Borough Council will vote on Tuesday (February 5) on a recommendation to give alternative homes to residents of the 221 flats – 15 of which are currently vacant.
Qualifying tenants who have to move will be entitled to statutory compensation payments, along with further discretionary payments to help cover reasonable costs. The council plans to empty the blocks by the end of March 2022.
The decision comes four months after the council announced blocks at Biart Place would be demolished and replaced, after discovering they had been built to a ‘poor standard’ and may not ‘perform as expected’ in the event of a fire or explosion.
The cost to the council of replacing blocks at both sites could reach £60million.
Council leader Coun Michael Stokes said: “The multi-storey blocks at Rounds Gardens and at Biart Place have stood safely since they were built around fifty years ago, but it is disappointing to find that the build quality at both sites, even though built by different contractors, has been poor.
“While we never wanted to be in the position of regenerating two town centre sites, we now have an opportunity to provide brand new, high quality council housing that better meets the needs of current and future tenants.
“The total costs for both sites is substantial at around £60million, and I am grateful that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is considering what help the government could provide to mitigate this impact.
“Whatever their decision, the safety and security of our tenants must remain our top priority.”
The council’s communities and homes spokeswoman Coun Emma Crane said she understood tenants would be concerned about where they will live and when they will have to move.
She said: “We have kept tenants updated throughout the survey work and have written to each household explaining the next steps.
“Moving so many people and providing accommodation that meets their individual needs will not be easy, but we are committed to meeting our responsibilities in the same way that we did for tenants at Biart Place.”
Work to provide automatic fire alarm systems until the Rounds Gardens blocks are decommissioned is currently underway and on schedule to be completed this spring, as recommended by Warwickshire Fire and Rescue service.
Residents of Rounds Gardens can call (01788) 533632 for more information.
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/highrise to read the agenda and reports for the February 5 meeting.