Portsmouth tower block residents set to get £6,100 per household at cost of £1.6m to city council

Council workers inside Horatia House today in Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells

New 24-hour security set up to protect residents of at-risk Portsmouth tower blocks

Leamington House before its cladding was removed last year.''Picture: Sarah Standing

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

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PORTSMOUTH City Council is facing a hefty compensation bill of more than £1.6m in its move to force hundreds of people out of two tower blocks.

About 800 people living in Horatia House and Leamington House, Somers Town, are today being told they will have to move elsewhere by spring 2019.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson outside Horatia House in Portsmouth. Picture Malcolm Wells

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson outside Horatia House in Portsmouth. Picture Malcolm Wells

It comes after fears were raised over the strength of concrete used to build the 18-storey high-rises, prompting the council to embark on an unprecedented refurbishment scheme.

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

As part of the decision, all tenants being moved will be entitled to a home-loss payment of £6,100 per household, at a cost of £1,653,100 to the council.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, with additional costs set to be faced by the council.

Residents live in Horatia  House are among those affected by the decision

Residents live in Horatia House are among those affected by the decision

Only one flat of the 272 affected across the two blocks is privately owned. Council officials said they will be in negotiations to buy back the property.

Elsewhere, Portsmouth City Council is helping to cover other costs for residents.

These include: removal fees, reconnection of appliances, carpets, curtains and decorations. Assistance for people the disabled and elderly to pack their items will also be offered.

On top of this, the council does not yet know how much the extensive refurbishment scheme will cost.

High-ranking officials within the administration have told The News they will be ‘holding conversations’ with the government in a bid to get extra cash.

Portsmouth City Council leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson has apologised for any disruption but said the work was essential for the safety of all residents.

The issue came following a decision to remove fire-risk cladding from the two buildings in June last year.

READ MORE: Residents react as cladding is taken off tower blocks

The work was completed earlier this year. However, in March a study of the building revealed a problem with the concrete.

Council officials have said there is no immediate risk to residents and that additional measures were being taken to protect residents.

The government had already pledged to stump up the £10m bill to replace the cladding.

It is unclear if any support will be given to fix the issue with the concrete.