Private flats owners may delay Hightown demolition

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

TWO householders could hold up the demolition of the doomed Hightown Flats.

Many of the council tenants from Hightown flats, which are to be knocked down by spring next year, have been rehoused  but two of the flats are privately owned.

Although the council says negotiations with the private owners are ongoing, it adds it has “not yet been possible to secure acquisition of the private interests”.

This means that the council will, as a “precautionary measure” make a compulsory purchase order so demolition will be completed within the timescale.

Council bosses say they are still on schedule for all 181 flats and masionettes to be empty and ready for demolition by March next year.

Chief housing and public protection officer Andy Lewis said: “We are in negotiations with the owners of the two flats and are working with them.

“We hope not to have to go through the long and complex process of the compulsory order.” Mr Lewis said the council wanted to ask for the order now in case there were any problems with the negotiations.

The authority’s executive board will meet on Tuesday, July 13 and will be deciding whether to make the compulsory purchase order

Late last year the council gave the go-ahead for the demolition of the five blocks of five-storey apartments, which have been plagued by a catalogue of structural problems.

The authority could not afford to spend £17.5 million on a major facelift of the 181 flats and maisonettes, which were built in 1970.

Tenants will have the choice of moving back to the area once it has been redeveloped.

See full story in the Leader

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