Former residents of Horatia and Leamington House in Portsmouth set out their ideas for what to build after towers are torn down

BETTER use of green space, more parking and no student housing - these were just a few of the demands from city residents that could shape the site of two tower blocks set to be torn down.

Monday, 30th September 2019, 11:24 am
Leamington House and Horatia House

More than 650 Portsmouth residents, charities, businesses and community groups had their say on what should be done with land currently occupied by Leamington and Horatia Houses in Somers Town, which will be ‘deconstructed’ next year.

Both tower blocks were evacuated after work to remove Grenfell-style cladding from the 1960s towers showed weaknesses in their concrete.

With repairs were estimated to cost around £86m Portsmouth City Council decided to redevelop the site instead - replacing a minimum of 272 social homes that would be lost.

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Leamington House and Horatia House

Housing boss, Councillor Darren Sanders, said: 'Right from the beginning we've wanted to make sure that we had a meaningful two-way conversation with the local community and we've wanted to make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the area.'

Residents living around the blocks, as well as former residents of the towers, were asked the open question of how the area could be improved.

The seven most common responses were: to build appropriate homes, make better use of green space and space for children, no more student accommodation, consider wider improvements, better parking options, no tower blocks and re-provide the social housing lost.

An open event will be held next week to allow residents to hear more about how their suggestions would be used, and what the next steps are.

Cllr Sanders added: 'We want local people to tell us if we've got any of this wrong.'

However, housing activist Cllr Cal Corkery believed more community involvement was needed. He said: 'For me the primary point is residents should be actively involved with the whole process rather than just consulted at the beginning, which may or may not mean their views are heard.

'They should sit on a project board through the whole process. They are the people that will be living there and best know the area.'

It is thought work to deconstruct the towers will start next summer.

The information event will take place on Thursday, October 10 from 8am to 7pm at the Somers Town Central Cafe in Rivers Street.