North Lanarkshire continues tower demolition planning

Plans to identify and improve future housing options for people living in high-rise homes in North Lanarkshire are continuing during the current pandemic as the council pushed on with high-rise demolition plans.

Motherwell Towers

North Lanarkshire Council, in consultation with local people, agreed ambitious plans to demolish all tower blocks and a number of low-rise properties over the next 25 years and replace them with 5,000 modern homes fit for the future.

Significant progress had been made prior to the coronavirus outbreak, with demolition complete at Northburn in Airdire and three other tower blocks at Holehills in Airdrie in the process of being dismantled. The footprint of this trio of towers alone will see the creation of 158 new homes being developed over the next few years.

Stephen Llewellyn, head of housing solutions, said: “Although building and demolition work is on hold because of the current global health emergency, we are continuing to work away in the background to identify suitable housing options for our tenants.

“Our first phase plans included the demolition of 15 tower blocks and a number of low-rise blocks. We have made significant progress in reducing tenancies in these blocks, as our plans for providing quality modern homes gathers momentum.

“Of the initial 1,700 properties identified, we now have 754 empty flats and we have agreed future housing options and needs with over 95% of tenants remaining in those homes.”

As part of the wider tower strategy, major investment and improvement works were agreed for towers forming later stages of the re-provisioning programme. Initial structural surveys of cladding and fire assessments have been concluded on all 48 towers (4,000 flats) with identified improvement plans now underway at a number of sites and further structural assessment work being finalised.

The wide-ranging improvement works will see some blocks being fitted with:

  • New cladding systems;
  • Upgraded entrances;
  • Improved lighting systems; and
  • Retro-fit individual flat sprinklers and new fire doors being installed

Major structural and refurbishment work has also been taking place over the last year at four towers in Coatbridge – Blairgrove, Merrystone, Glen and Millbrae Courts.

Birkshaw Tower in Wishaw has been successfully fitted with new sprinkler systems and other associated fire safety measures and this programme will be rolled out to other sites when procurement is complete and works are safe to recommence.

Pat O’Rourke, acting convener of communities and housing, added: “These are uncertain times for everyone just now and looking after the safety and wellbeing of our communities is our absolute priority. Prior to the lockdown, we had achieved substantial progress in our modernisation programme with our tower strategy at the heart of it.

“We remain committed to delivering our very ambitious plans for the future of North Lanarkshire to make it a better place for people to live in and our council house programme is central to that vision.”

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