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

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

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HUNDREDS of families living in two of Portsmouth’s biggest tower blocks have been told they will have to move out of their homes amid fresh safety fears.

Those living in Horatia House and Leamington House were told the shock news by Portsmouth City Council this morning.

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

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

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

Here’s what we know so far:

Safety concerns

- Fears over the strength of concrete used to build Horatia House and Leamington House prompted action from the city council.

- Structural reports on both the buildings revealed weaknesses in the concrete used to construct them.

- There are doubts over the high-rises’ ability to absorb shock from a major incident like a gas explosion.

READ MORE: Tower block residents set to get £6,100 per household

Procedures in place

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

- The council insists a gas explosion in the blocks is ‘unlikely’ as neither have a mains gas supply and residents are not allowed items such as gas heaters.

- Security guards are now on site to stop people from bringing in any prohibited items that could explode, like gas canisters or gas heaters.

READ MORE: Council sets up new 24-hour security to protect residents of at-risk Portsmouth tower blocks

The residents

- The council will embark on an unprecedented refurbishment scheme - the cost remains unknown.

- A total of 272 flats will need to be emptied by spring 2019 to allow improvement works on the blocks.

- The local authority will have to find new homes for residents currently living across the 272 flats.

- In total, 800 people will need to move out.

- 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.

- Additional costs set to be faced by the council include: removal fees, reconnection of appliances, carpets, curtains and decorations.

- Portsmouth City Council boss Gerald Vernon-Jackson is confident residents are in no immediate danger, and has apologised for any disruption. He said the work was essential for the safety of all residents.