Repairs to Southside tenements could cost billions

Billions of pounds may be needed to maintain the Southside's tenement buildings after a new report revealed that thousands of blocks are in '˜critical disrepair'.

Thursday, 29th November 2018, 9:00 am

According to the report, around 46,600 tenement flats, which were built before 1919, have been deemed dangerous and need structural, weather-tightening and restoration work.

In the Southside, Govanhill, East Pollokshields and Strathbungo, have all been identified as areas with pre-1919 houses in “poor condition”.

One tenement in the South side, which now sits vacant after being deemed too dangerous to live in, has a repair bill of over £700,000. Another has also been deemed too dangerous and the cost to repair it is more than £800,000.

Glasgow City Council has around 70,000 tenements in total which were built prior to 1919. Many of those buildings are thought to require more than £500,000 worth of work to bring them up to scratch.

That could mean the final repair cost may stretch to as much as £2.9 billion across the city. The council has admitted that the number of tenement properties having to be evacuated or requiring emergency stabilisation work is rising.

And demand for assistance to repair tenement buildings is rising among private owners, particularly in buildings that are listed or are in conservation areas.

The local authority has blamed lack of appetite from private landlords, affordability issues and poor forward planning for the state of the city’s tenements.

Tom Turley, Glasgow City Council’s assistant director of economy and regeneration, said: “I have to make it known that the cost of repairs are increasing and there’s a growing number of dangerous buildings in the city.

“We’re now trying to identify housing stock before it gets into a state of disrepair.”

Over the next 12 months the council will carry out condition surveys of around 500 pre-1919 tenement properties across the city.

A further report will then go before the city’s neighbourhoods, housing and public realm city policy committee next November.

The Working Group on maintenance of Tenement Scheme Property, formed in the wake of a Parliamentary debate on tenement maintenance, met for the first time in March this year and called for action to ensure the protection of Scotland’s historic and most common type of residence.