Portsmouth tower blocks: This is why Leamington House and Horatia House will be taken down rather than demolished

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DEMOLITION is not an option for two Portsmouth tower blocks, council officers have said.

If plans to tear down Leamington and Horatia House in Somers Town are approved on February 26 the process will be a 'deconstruction' rather than demolition.

Cladding being removed from Horatia House in 2017

Cladding being removed from Horatia House in 2017

Steve Groves, the council's head of building maintenance, explained that demolition would not be safe.

He said: 'The buildings will have to be deconstructed piece by piece rather than demolished.

READ MORE: Leamington House and Horatia House to be torn down 

'We have got to make sure it is safe as possible as they are taken down. The buildings that surround them are very close so it would be unsafe to bring them down quickly.'

Councillor Darren Sanders, the council's head of housing, said: 'We want to create minimal impact for those living nearby so that they can continue to live their lives normally.

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

'If you are blowing up buildings only 30 yards away from others that is not safe. Risk will be reduced dramatically by deconstruction.

'We have done the best by our residents and put their safety first. Safety has to come before profit. Now we can start looking at the future of the area.'

READ MORE: Recent history of Leamington House and Horatia House 

Once the remaining 50 households in Leamington and Horatia are moved out by the end of spring the buildings will be secured before work begins.

Plans to deconstruct the 1960s buildings were proposed when a recent report showed weaknesses in their concrete would cost around £86m to fix.

But this is not an isolated incident

The council's housing director, James Hill, said: 'This seems to be an issue that is affecting other local authorities such as in Rugby.'

Recently Rugby Borough Council found that work to bring two of its high rise blocks, in Biart Place, up to scratch was not viable, with repairs estimated to cost £20m.

Plans to demolish the blocks were approved last September.

It is thought the deconstruction of Leamington and Horatia will cost between £5m and £6m.