RAAC-affected properties in Aberdeen could be demolished

RAAC-affected properties in Aberdeen could be demolished

Hundreds of council tenants in Aberdeen are to be relocated to alternative accommodation after reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) panels were found in residential properties.

Approximately 500 homes, including 364 council properties, in the Balnagask area of Torry are likely to be affected by the presence of the material after Aberdeen City Council began an inspection of more than 22,000 council homes in October.

Last week, the council received an independent structural engineers’ report on the presence of RAAC in a representative sample of these properties which recommended that council tenants be relocated to alternative accommodation within the city as soon as possible. The findings were considered by Aberdeen City Council’s Urgent Business Committee yesterday.

Officers are currently exploring options for the long-term viability of the site, which include remedial works or demolition. A detailed appraisal will be presented to the council within six months.

Councillors accepted a recommendation from council officers that tenants be permanently rehomed. The committee asked officers to be available to engage with council tenants to understand their individual needs and to support them through the next steps.

The council has written to council tenants inviting them to meet with a housing and support officer in their home. The council has also contacted owners and private tenants to advise them of the current position and to offer those occupiers a meeting with a housing and support officer to discuss their housing options.

Councillor Miranda Radley, convener of the Communities, Housing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This is an incredibly difficult situation for everyone living in a RAAC affected property, but the Council will be doing everything we can to support our tenants during this hugely challenging time.

“These are people’s homes and we need to ensure we support our tenants, but also engage with owners and privately rented tenants, to keep them informed on this matter.”

The committee agreed to set aside an initial £3 million to cover the rehoming programme.

Scottish Labour North East MSP Michael Marra said: “This deeply worrying news will bring significant disruption to the lives of many in Aberdeen.

“I urge Aberdeen City Council to ensure residents are rehomed as quickly as possible.

“A long-term solution for the affected properties must be found, and quickly, to minimise the upheaval and uncertainty for residents.

“The Scottish Government must also act to determine how widespread RAAC is in homes across Scotland.”

Lesley McLeod, chief executive of the Association for Project Safety, added: “The Association for Project Safety is concerned about reports of people in Aberdeen having to leave their homes because there is a risk RAAC has made them structurally unsound. The association fully supports the need to build more attractive and affordable homes as well as updating the country’s ageing infrastructure. But speed and aesthetics must not ever win out over safety.”

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