Portsmouth tower blocks: Tory boss describes decision to take buildings down as 'over the top'

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PROPOSALS to tear down the two Somers Town towers have been met with mixed reactions from other political groups.

Leader of the Portsmouth Conservatives, Councillor Donna Jones, stood by her belief that it was unnecessary to either refurbish the buildings or knock them down.

Leamington House

Leamington House

The report from last year detailed how the structures' concrete could not withstand a gas explosion.

For Cllr Jones this was not reason to act. She said: 'I was told that piped gas was removed from these buildings in 1991. Tenants are prohibited from having any kind of gas canisters or Calor Gas bottles in their flats so therefore the risk comes down considerably.

'The Liberal Democrats, when they took over the running of the council, made the decision to move 600 people out of these blocks. What does that mean for you and your family? £1,421 for every house in this city paying council tax is going to be the bill to refurbish.

'I think it's an over-the-top reaction, I think it's a poor use of your money and I think the Lib Dems are completely mismanaging finances and miscalculating risk to Portsmouth.'

Labour leader and Portsmouth South MP, Cllr Stephen Morgan, felt keeping social housing stock was key. 'I have sought assurances that residents affected and the wider community will be fully informed of the latest plans and consulted on the council’s options,' he said.

'Residents who have called these properties their home must be the council’s top priority.

 'Any future development should be on the basis that replacement homes are social and affordable. If the administration wants to be ambitious for our city, with the housing crisis we see, we must now start seeing a greater supply of decent quality, well built homes for local people in the heart of our city.

'I will continue to push the council to deliver this for Portsmouth families.'