Final resident has left one of two 'ghost towers' in Portsmouth before they are taken down

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THE last resident of one of two condemned 'ghost towers' said she had hoped to live in the block for the 'rest of her life.'

A total of 272 households were evacuated from Leamington House and Horatia House in Portsmouth after weaknesses in the buildings' concrete were discovered when removing Grenfell-style cladding from the structures.

Leamington House. Picture: Sarah Standing (170831-4086)

Leamington House. Picture: Sarah Standing (170831-4086)

Over a period of 14 months more than 800 residents were found new council homes. These were intended to be temporary but it was since decided that the predicted £86m needed to repair the blocks made it unviable.

For the final occupant of Leamington House who moved out earlier this month, Alyson Hammond, it had been an 'emotional' experience. 

Speaking to the BBC before she left Leamington for the last time Alyson said: 'It's very very lonely. It's completely empty. It's so quiet and it's not natural.

'I've lived here 23 years and I was hoping that I would be here for the rest of my life. 

'It's very community spirited with 136 flats. There must have been at least triple that in people. 

'I'm going to be really sad to leave this behind. My grandparents lived here and they both died here. 

'It's the night time it hits you. You can't hear anybody moving around. I call it "ghost towers".

'It's been a home for me for 23 years that's nearly half my life. It's going to be very emotional, they might have to tear the keys off me.'

The towers will be deconstructed rather than demolished due to their proximity to other buildings.

Feedback from the public on how the sites should be utilised is now being considered following a consultation that ran until July this year.

Portsmouth City Council's housing boss, Councillor Darren Sanders, said: 'We're very grateful for residents' co-operation through what has been an understandably difficult period.

'We've said we will replace the 272 flats in Horatia and Leamington with at least the same number of socially rented homes.

'It's crucial that whatever replaces these blocks reflects the needs and aspirations of local people and that's why we wanted people in the area to have their say now.'

There are currently no timescales for the deconstruction process.