Portsmouth tower block strengthening could be ‘largest housing construction project in decades’

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A FORMER city council boss has warned the effort to fix safety issues at two tower blocks could become the ‘largest housing construction project in decades’.

All 272 flats at Leamington House and Horatia House will need to be evacuated by spring 2019 before a major project begins to strengthen the buildings’ weak concrete structure.

Horatia House. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Horatia House. Picture: Habibur Rahman

It is a project that the council has been unable to provide an accurate estimate for.

READ MORE: Families tell of their heartbreak as council says they have to leave their home

But sources inside the authority have hinted the figure to repair the site will run into the millions.

Councillor Donna Jones – who up until a few weeks ago was in charge of the city – said she was shocked by yesterday’s decision by the council, claiming she hadn’t been informed.

The Tory leader said she was ‘disappointed’ by this but said there were bigger concerns to be worried about.

Cllr Jones said: ‘This is a huge decision and one which could have massive implications.

‘We need to ensure that residents and tax payers across the city are fully aware of risks and implications for the council, this could end up being the largest housing construction project the council has taken on in decades and the Liberal Democrats seem to have no idea of the implications.

‘This is a huge worry.’

The move to rehouse the residents is needed to allow engineers to fix the weakened concrete structure.

It will take months for residents to be found new homes.

In the meantime, firefighters have made sure that the building is safe for residents.

Stuart Adamson from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘The fire safety within the building has been well-managed.

‘We inspected the building post-Grenfell last year and several times since then and continue to mitigate the risks.’