‘I want to be the first person out of here’: Somers Town families speak out after council tells them they will need to leave their homes

Fiona Kinsman, McCarthy ansd Stone sales executive with Hayling Ferry skipper Colin Hill. Picture: McCarthy and Stone

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Leamington House in Portsmouth as hundreds of residents are told there is a structural weakness in the concrete. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Portsmouth tower block residents to be relocated: what we know so far

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FAMILIES who are being forced to leave their homes by Portsmouth City Council have reacted to the shock news.

About 800 people, living in 272 properties in Horatia House and Leamington House, are to be moved.

Sammy Philpott, 32, who lives in Horatia House, Somers Town, has told of his shock at being moved. He is pictured with son Joey, aged one.

Sammy Philpott, 32, who lives in Horatia House, Somers Town, has told of his shock at being moved. He is pictured with son Joey, aged one.

It comes after safety fears were raised over the concrete used to build the two 18-storey tower blocks. in Somers Town.

READ MORE: Hundreds of residents told they will have to leave two Portsmouth tower blocks amid safety fears

Sammy Philpott was relieved by the news he would finally be leaving his sixth-floor flat in Horatia House.

The 32-year-old, who has a one-year-old son, Joey, said: ‘I want to be the first person out of here.

‘I thought I was going to end up being stuck here.’

Epilepsy sufferer Sammy added he had been battling with the council to change homes because he feared for his safety.

He said: ‘It’s been very stressful,’ adding: ‘I had a fit two days ago. My head got smashed up.’

Portsmouth City Council has pledged to find new homes for all residents by spring 2019.

However, some people aren’t convinced by this and are concerned the authority won’t be able to deliver on its promise.

One 35-year-old woman mother-of-two, who lives in Horatia House, said: ‘I am worried. I have got an autistic son. It’s hard for him to adjust to new things. This is going to turn his life upsidedown.’

She said she would be looking to the council to help with the move. The resident, who has lived in the high-rise for about five years, added she was concerned it had taken so long to spot the safety issue.

‘They should have sorted this sooner,’ she said. ‘There’s over 100 flats in here, 90 per cent of these have got kids in.

‘If there was a safety concern, it should have been dealt with sooner.’

Abdou Keita, 52, lives in Horatia House with his four children and wife. He welcomed the council’s action.

‘For me this is good news,’ he said. It’s good for safety.

‘To be honest it was something I had expected.’

Mr Keita said he hoped the council would keep its promise to rehome people in the city.