Tenants are set to be moved out of a Golcar retirement living scheme which needs to be demolished on safety grounds.
Kirklees Council says an inspection of Sycamore Grange, a two-storey 1970s complex, revealed “major building safety issues.”
The inspection found that fire safety work was needed in communal areas but that asbestos insulating board debris was discovered in the corridors and communal lounge which would have to be removed first.
Repeated legionella samples were also found in pipework, particularly in one flat. Legionella is a bacteria that can cause lung infections. The tenant of that flat was re-housed at the start of December and measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of remaining residents.
While the council has carried out emergency repairs and improvements to ensure the complex is safe for tenants, it has been decided the 50-year-old complex is uneconomic to repair and needs “significant investment to bring it up to a modern standard.”
A report to the council’s Cabinet on Wednesday December 21 says: “The most straightforward solution is to re-house all remaining tenants, demolish the existing scheme and re-develop the site. Any re-development will include, as a minimum, new housing for older people.”
If approved by Cabinet, consultations will start with tenants and their families in January and residents will be moved out from April 2023, a process which will take up to 12 months to complete.
The report says as flats have become empty they have not been relet and 25 out of 40 units are currently unoccupied.
Empty flats have also been held at Lynroyd in Linthwaite, some four miles away, and seven flats are currently available for Sycamore Grange tenants to move into. The council says there are another 16 suitable units elsewhere in Kirklees.
Each household moved from Sycamore Grange will be entitled to a Statutory Home Loss Payment, set by the Government, of £7,800.
The council will also pay towards moving costs, blinds, flooring and packing and unpacking on an individual basis.
It is estimated that the costs of moving and relocating existing tenants will be around £300,000.
Following demolition, the re-development could take between 18 months and two years and existing tenants will have the option to return or stay where they are.
Tenants and their relatives will be invited to face-to-face group meetings at Sycamore Grange and there will be individual home visits too to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
In a statement, Kirklees Council said it was looking to “address building safety issues in the long term” and added: “Although the council is currently taking action to manage the risks within the building, it is not sustainable in the longer term.
“If approved, council officers will engage with residents and their families on the redevelopment and moving-out process. There will be no immediate changes, and dedicated officers will provide support to ensure the needs of all residents are met.”
Clr Cathy Scott, Cabinet member for housing, said: “The safety of our residents remains our priority. While work has, and continues to, be done to keep the building safe, options must be explored to make sure the safety of the building is maintained in the long term.”