The demolition of Rugby's Biart Place is set to start within weeks - here's how it's going to be done
The brutalist tower blocks of Biart Place have been part of Rugby's skyline for half a century and residents have mixed memories of living in them - but work to demolish them will begin in weeks.
Work to prepare the Biart Place site for demolition looks likely to start by the end of January, with Rugby council saying it will take around a year to complete.
Rugby Borough Council has appointed Manchester-based company O'Gara to dismantle the tower blocks and apartment block on the site, and demolish the garages.
The council has secured prior approval for the deconstruction - and O'Gara plan to move on to the site by the end of January.
How will it be done?
The company will first secure the site before constructing scaffold towers that reach the full height of the blocks.
These scaffold towers will be completed with flame-retardant covers to protect residents from noise and dust.
O'Gara also intends to use further dust reduction measures during the deconstruction process, with both tower blocks being taken down floor by floor.
The approval for the project includes restrictions to on-site working hours with the aim of minimising disruption to nearby residents.
Cllr Emma Crane, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for communities and homes, said: "The deconstruction process requires considerable planning and expertise, and in O'Gara we have appointed one of the country's leading specialists in its field.
"While inevitably the work entails generating a degree of noise and dust, we have been assured both can be kept to a minimum to avoid inconvenience to residents."
Why are the blocks being demolished?
The blocks at Biart Place were built in around 1968 and housed hundreds of Rugbeians for half a century.
But in 2018 a survey found that the blocks had been built to a poor standard and they might not perform as expected in a fire or explosion.
Concrete cancer, whereby the steel reinforcements inside concrete rust and begin to expand, was also discovered.
As a result the Grenfell-style 'stay put' policy for the blocks, which relies on a building being able to contain fires, was abandoned by Rugby council.
Rugby council faced two options - either spend around £20 million refurbishing the flats or around £23 million demolishing them and building new council and affordable homes on the site.
The council concluded that the blocks were beyond economic repair and chose the second option.
How are the council homes lost going to be replaced?
Cllr Emma Crane said: "This work marks the next step in the council's ambitious plans to regenerate the Biart Place site and build modern council homes for our tenants and affordable housing for residents.
The council intends to invite specialist housing development companies to submit design proposals for the site in the coming months.
And the Advertiser will follow the progress of these plans, updating you when we learn more.
For more information about the regeneration of Biart Place, visit www.rugby.gov.uk/highriseregeneration