By David Spereall, local democracy reporter
A cluster of high-rise blocks set for demolition will not be replaced for several years, Leeds City Council has admitted.
Senior councillors are expected to give the green light to the mothballing of six tower blocks across the city next week. They are Bailey Towers, Brooklands Towers and Ramshead Heights in Seacroft; Leafield Towers in Moortown; and Raynville Court and Raynville Grange in Armley.
Officers say the blocks have reached the end of their useful life and have concluded it will be cheaper to rehouse the 360 residents living across them than to refurbish the properties.
However, the council has admitted that it won’t be able to build newer modern homes on the sites in question quickly.
Asked about the issue at a scrutiny meeting on Thursday, the council’s chief housing officer, Gerard Tinsdale: “The ultimate aim is to replace those blocks with nice high-quality homes. But it’s going to take a few years for us to do that. It’s going to take potentially a couple of years to empty the blocks and get them down before we start looking to replace them.”
Mr Tinsdale said the council’s housing service is in a “really difficult financial situation”.
He explained: “We can’t afford to spend the money to make those blocks decent. We’ve an obligation to the people living in there, to make sure they’re living in decent properties.
“That’s why we’re asking the executive board to consider the decision (to demolish them).”
There are also concerns about the wider impact on social housing in the meantime, with more than 20,000 people in the city waiting for a property. Those being evacuated from the blocks will be prioritised.
Liberal Democrat councillor Stewart Golton (Rothwell) suggested that single people would be among the worst affected, given that many one-person council properties are in multi-storey blocks.
Mr Tinsdale added: “I think the simple answer would be it is going to put additional pressure on the service, should that report be agreed at executive board.
“It’s going to take out 360 units. So I don’t think there’s any other answer than ‘yes’, it will put pressure on the service.”