Rugby councillors asked to back plans to demolish Rounds Gardens and redevelop site with new council homes

Rounds Gardens. Photo: Google Maps.
Rounds Gardens. Photo: Google Maps.

Rugby's Rounds Gardens blocks may be demolished and new council homes built in their place as part of a £28 million project, with residents of the high-rise blocks being moved out by March 2022.

Councillors have been asked to approve the plans to demolish the buildings and regenerate the site with new council housing after survey work found the blocks to be 'beyond economic repair', with a vote on the plans set to take place on February 5.

The news comes after, in September last year, Rugby council voted to have Biart Place demolished after survey work also revealed that the blocks were beyond economic repair.

A council spokesperson said regeneration of the site with new council housing is estimated to cost around £28million, subject to site survey and the scheme specification. Together with the programme to replace the two blocks at Biart Place approved by councillors in September 2018, the cost to the council’s Housing Capital programme could reach £60million.

Head of Rugby council, Michael Stokes, said: "While we never wanted to be in the position of regenerating two town centre sites, we now have an opportunity to provide brand new, high quality council housing that better meets the needs of current and future tenants.

“The total costs for both sites is substantial at around £60million, and I am grateful that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is considering what help the government could provide to mitigate this impact. Whatever their decision, the safety and security of our tenants must remain our top priority.”

Qualifying tenants who have to move to new homes will be entitled to statutory payments to compensate them for the loss of their home, along with further discretionary payments to help cover reasonable costs - as has been the case with residents moved away from Biart Place.

15 of the 221 flats at Rounds Gardens are currently vacant, 29 are being used as temporary accommodation and 18 are used for supported accommodation.

The council spokesperson added: "Survey work carried out at Rounds Gardens to understand future maintenance needs had found that floors and walls vary in thickness across their length.

"Additional work carried out with the Buildings Research Establishment found that, even if intrusive samples were taken from every panel, the strength of the building could not be accurately modelled and that any remedial work would not guarantee the long-term integrity of the building.

"Poor insulation and the use of electric heating would mean that even if refurbished the blocks would be prone to damp and difficult to heat, meaning they are beyond economic repair."

Cllr Emma Crane, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for communities and homes, said: “Our tenants will understandably be concerned about where they will live and when they will have to move.

“We have kept tenants updated throughout the survey work and have written to each household explaining the next steps. Moving so many people and providing accommodation that meets their individual needs will not be easy, but we are committed to meeting our responsibilities in the same way that we did for tenants at Biart Place.”

Residents of Rounds Gardens have received a hand-delivered letter about the proposals, or can call 01788 533632 to speak to the project team.

The agenda and reports for the meeting to be held on February 5 2019 can be found at www.rugby.gov.uk/highrise