Portsmouth tower blocks: The recent history of Leamington House and Horatia House

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AFTER two years the saga of two Portsmouth tower blocks could be about to come to an end.

On February 26 city councillors are set to decide whether to ‘deconstruct’ Leamington House and Horatia House in Somers Town, freeing up space for new social housing.

Leamington House.

Leamington House.

But how did it get to this point?

Following the Grenfell fire tragedy in June 2017 Portsmouth City Council began work to remove cladding from the blocks when they were found to be two of 158 social housing buildings across the country that failed cladding safety tests.

The cost of removing and replacing the cladding was estimated to cost about £10m in total, which central government had pledged to cover.

READ MORE: Portsmouth tower blocks Leamington House and Horatia House to be torn down

Cladding being removed from Horatia House in 2017

Cladding being removed from Horatia House in 2017

Almost exactly a year later structural reports on both the buildings, which were built in 1965, unveiled weaknesses in the concrete used to construct them. This cast doubts over the high-rises’ ability to absorb shock from a major incident like a gas explosion.

So in June 2018 the council made the decision to issue an evacuation of all 800 residents of the towers.

READ MORE: This is why Leamington House and Horatia House will be taken down rather than demolished

The re-housing process saw people moved into other social housing stock owned by the council across the city and in Leigh Park.

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

READ MORE: Recent history of Leamington House and Horatia House

Currently 222 out of the 272 households have been re-homed, with 50 remaining.

Only 13 of these haven't yet been allocated a new home but it is thought everyone will be moved out by the end of spring.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the tower block deconstruction 

The latest detailed report on the blocks revealed work to make the towers safe would cost about £86m.

Instead it is proposed that the blocks are torn down with the sites used for future social housing.

READ MORE: Live updates and reaction as future of Portsmouth tower blocks announced 

Councillors will decide on the plans on February 26.