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You have just served demolition notices to residents – what are these?

Demolition notices are a legal requirement. Basically it is a document outlining our plan to demolish the block and our need to re-house any affected residents.

The notice last 7 years, but this does not mean that we will demolish the blocks in 7 years time - they will be demolished once they have been vacated by residents.

It has been mentioned in the press that you intend to move everyone out within 12 months. Is this true?

We are currently re-housing tenants and understand that everyone's circumstance is different and this is a large project. It isn't possible to provide a standard timescale which suits all residents.

In January 2017 we moved transfer applications into Band 1 - the highest priority to ensure residents' needs are taken into account.

We plan to demolish as soon as is practicable after everyone has been rehoused - that will take as long as is required and may be longer than 12 months.

Has the decision already been taken to demolish these blocks?

Yes, the demolition of these blocks has now been agreed, following the final sign-off at the authority’s full council meeting on 10 October 2016.

Which blocks will be affected?

The proposed demolition would affect four blocks of high rise flats within Netherton:

  • Arley Court

  • Compton Court

  • Wells Court

  • Manor Court

There are currently no plans to demolish any surrounding properties.

Why are we proposing the demolition of these blocks?

The council recently undertook a review of all housing stock with a view to creating a sustainable 30 year housing strategy for the borough. It took into account such things as ongoing maintenance costs, sustainability (the ability to be maintained at a certain level), desirability and levels of occupancy versus rental incomes.

Over the next 30 years it is estimated that around £1.2bn will be required to keep the council’s current 22,000 properties at a decent standard. Given the level of investment required in these properties this would not be a cost effective use of the authority’s housing finance as the cost would outweigh the benefit for all borough residents.

As a result of this review four blocks of flats, Wells & Manor Courts and Arley & Compton Courts in Netherton, which were built in the 1960s, were identified as no longer sustainable. The council has forecast that maintenance and repairs to these four blocks including over-cladding of roofs and replacement of lifts would cost a minimum of £9.1m in the short term.

Tenants will be relocated to more modern and suitable properties and the blocks demolished.

High rise living as a lifestyle choice is no longer the preference for most people outside major city centres, leaving this type of property potentially redundant and unattractive. Although people who are already living in these properties are often very happy there, there tends to be very little demand for flats that become vacant.

Who made the decision?

Housing officers made the initial recommendation following the findings of an independent review of housing stock. This review was commissioned to create a sustainable 30 year housing strategy for the borough.

This recommendation was then discussed with the cabinet member, the housing board and DFTRA.

The decision was then taken to agree the demolition at the council’s cabinet meeting on 20 July.

This was then ratified at full council meeting on 10 October.

What is the proposed demolition date?

At the moment we anticipate it will take around 18 months from January 2017 to complete our consultations and planning and to re-house our tenants.

We will keep you informed of timescales via various communications.

What are the anticipated timescales?

  • March 2016 report to Place Scrutiny Committee
  • 24 May discussion with high rise living forum
  • 26 May distribution of letter to existing tenants in blocks
  • 22 June meeting with Wells & Manor TRA
  • 5 July meeting with Wells & Manor TRA
  • 14 July meeting for Arley & Compton residents
  • 20 July discussion/agreement at cabinet
  • 21 July cease letting and right to buy
  • From September face to face meetings with residents commence
  • 10 October final sign off at full council
  • January 2017 commencement of re-housing
  • 18 months (anticipated) demolition