Orchard Park tower blocks to be saved from demolition
TWO threatened council tower blocks on the city's Orchard Park estate look set be saved.
Housing officers say refurbishing any of the estate's four remaining occupied high-rise blocks is not economically viable.
It is estimated that upgrading each individual flat would cost at least £50,000.
The future of all four blocks has been under review since just before last Christmas.
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Officers are recommending the go-ahead for a mass demolition programme including all of the 1960s landmarks.
But a meeting of the council's cabinet on Monday is expected to throw a lifeline to two of them.
Housing scrutiny councillors yesterday supported the option of retaining the blocks at Gorthorpe and Kinthorpe.
The same option was also backed at a special meeting of the council's northern area committee.
The same outcome is now expected at Monday's cabinet, with councillors from the ruling Labour group apparently only willing to approve the demolition of the remaining Highcourt and Laxthorpe blocks.
Their favoured option is to refurbish Gorthorpe and Kinthorpe and develop 75 new one and two-bed council flats together with 25 new two-bed council houses in the area at a cost of about £15 million.
Councillor Julia Conner, who represents Orchard Park, said she was concerned that taking out 251 flats could leave the council with a severe shortage of housing at a time when demand was rising.
"I am against demolition because things change and no-one can predict what might happen in the future."
She also claimed looming welfare reforms were likely to trigger a surge in demand for one-bed flats.
Money for the new-build homes would come from a one-off Government funding allowance, income generated from all council house sales across Hull over the next three years and cash reserves in the council's housing budget.
Gary Taylor, the council's assistant head of housing, told scrutiny councillors that little modernisation work had been carried out at the high-rise flats for many years because of question marks over their long-term future.
"It costs twice as much to maintain a high-rise flat against building a new one at ground level.
"The insulation in them now is non-existent and they also suffer from serious problems with their heating systems."
A majority of the remaining 154 tenants supported demolition in a survey last year.