Industry news

Unpopular tower block to be demolished over structural concerns

concerns about its “long-term structural integrity”. Leicester’s deputy mayor approved proposals to


knock down Goscote House, a 23-storey block built by Taylor Wimpey in

1973. Ronan Point, was a tower block in Newham, east London which partially collapsed after a gas explosion in May 1968, killing four people just two months after the block had opened. Goscote House is one of five tower blocks on

the city’s St Peter’s Estate - the other four blocks have already been refurbished. Goscote House consists of 134 flats, of which about a quarter are understood to be empty. The block is locally unpopular, difficult to let and suffers from anti- social behaviour issues. An investigation found the structural integrity

he tallest remaining tower block built using the same large panel system as Ronan Point is set to be demolished due to

of Goscote House’s concrete frame cannot be guaranteed for longer than five years. Examination of the building found any upgrade work should be kept to a minimum and external cladding or insulation should not be installed because the structure could not cope with the additional weight. The council had planned to refurbish the block

at a cost of around £6.5m, including retrofitting water sprinklers. Instead it now plans to demolish the building for around £3m and either redevelop the site or to sell it on. Building a new tower block similar in size to Goscote House would cost around £17.3m, while valuers estimate it would fetch £1.2m on the open market in its current state or £8.35m after refurbishment. Student accommodation is believed to be one of the building’s most likely alternative uses.

News in brief

• A collaboration between around 16 London boroughs is set to establish a company to deliver modular housing for use as temporary accommodation. The company will be used as a not-for-profit vehicle to procure and own factory-built homes, which councils can let as cheaper alternatives to B&Bs or other emergency housing for homeless families. The properties could be moved between sites across the capital where necessary. London mayor Sadiq Khan has awarded the councils £11m in grant from the Greater London Authority’s Innovation Fund. Umbrella group London Councils, which lobbies the government on behalf of all 33 boroughs, has put forward £20,000 in ‘seed funding’ from its Capital Ambition programme. There were 54,660 households in temporary accommodation in London at the end of September 2017.

Durkan appointed for first phase of Thamesmead regen

A London housing association has appointed a contractor to deliver one of the first phases of its work on the giant Thamesmead regeneration project in the south east of the capital. Peabody has named Durkan as the contractor

for the Southmere Village Phase 1A project on the estate. Work includes the design and construction of 130 new homes, an energy network, commercial space and parking. The contract also includes building public spaces and provisions, such as offices, shops and revamped roads, pavements and cycle lanes in the area. Angela Wood, director of new business,

regeneration and partnerships at Peabody, said: “Durkan has a strong track record of delivering top-quality homes. We are pleased to be moving forward with them on the first phase of Southmere

Village as part of the comprehensive regeneration in south Thamesmead. This is the third major scheme we have committed to in Thamesmead and represents our long-term commitment to the area.” Jim Briggs, managing director of Durkan, said

the contractor was “delighted”. He said: “It’s our priority to deliver sustainable communities. We’re looking forward to helping Peabody deliver on its proposals for Thamesmead, in what will doubtless add long-term value to a growing community.” The £45m contract is the most recent part of

Peabody’s massive regeneration of the Thamesmead housing estate, which includes plans to build more than 20,000 new homes over the next 30 years in a multi-billion pound investment.

• Water sprinklers should be mandatory in all new build high-rise flats, a London Assembly report into fire safety has said. Building regulations currently only require sprinklers to be installed in new tower blocks of 30m (10 storeys) or higher. But ministers should change the rules to lower that threshold to all buildings taller than 18m (six storeys), the report said, as well as developing “a road map with clear milestones” to make sprinklers compulsory in every residential building in England. Assembly members also called for all new care homes and sheltered housing to require sprinklers.

Biggest HA sees surplus grow to £306m

Clarion has boosted its operating surplus by six per cent from £289m to £306m for the financial year 2017/18, while its operating costs fell from £495m to £478m. The association, which already owns 125,000

homes, built 1,263 homes in the financial year and started work on 1,428 more homes, investing

£427m in the year, up from £196m spent in 2016/17. Its pre-tax net surplus was slightly lower than

the previous year, falling from £176m to £162m and the value of Clarion’s housing assets rose from £6.5bn to £6.77bn, mainly due to investments in new development.

• Glasgow Council is failing to house homeless people quickly enough, the Scottish Housing Regulator has warned. In a report looking at how effectively Scottish registered social landlords work to find homes for homeless people, the regulator concluded that homeless people in Glasgow are spending too long in temporary accommodation waiting for a home. In 2016/17 it said the council found homes for nearly 2,000 families, but this was only around half of the families it had a duty to house. People spent on average 238 days in temporary accommodation. The council has a target to find 3,000 homes for homeless people each year, but the regulator said this is “too low for the number of people it assesses that the council has a duty to house”. | HMM May 2018 | 23

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