Dozens of residents on two Aberdeen streets will be moved to new homes and their flats demolished after the properties were found to be sinking.
Councillors met in private on Thursday to discuss the fate of residents living in 13 blocks of flats on Erroll Street and Erroll Place, near King Street, as the ground under the properties is subsiding.
Aberdeen City Council’s city growth and resources committee agreed the flats should be demolished, with the council tenants on the site given priority status to be permanently rehoused in alternative housing.
Committee convener Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “We fully appreciate we are talking about people’s homes – and that is why the council has engaged with residents throughout the process.
“However, the subsidence was only going to get worse, which meant action had to be taken.”
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Council tenants will receive payments equivalent to a home loss payment and disturbance payments.
There are 48 council properties on the site and four are in private ownership.
Negotiations are to take place with private owners with a view to purchasing their properties, which would include making compensation payments.
The council notified residents in the affected properties by letter yesterday.
One Erroll Place resident, who did not want to be named, said she was “pleased” by the decision.
She added: “I’m pleased in a way because at the moment we are very overcrowded so it means we’re going to get accommodation that suits our needs more.
“But I’m also disappointed they have left us this long without telling us.
“This has been going on for years so I’m glad it’s decided.
“We have a real issue with damp in our home. The cracks in the ceiling and the roof will be letting water in.
“We got a letter and all it said was they’re going to send a council worker to each of the flats to go over our requirements and they will get us rehoused quickly.”
Other residents in the area told the Evening Express earlier this week they have been plagued with issues like windows and doors “twisting”.
Several have also experienced problems with damp and others have complained of their properties feeling cold.
The recommended option was to demolish the flats as the most economically viable method of dealing with the subsidence, impacting on all properties on the site.
It would take around 12 weeks to totally demolish the affected buildings.
A business case was prepared by officers considering the costs and implications of four options for addressing the problem: external repairs, mass concrete underpinning, micro piling and ground beams and demolition.
The long-running subsidence issue was first identified by residents more than two decades ago, with two blocks having been demolished in the past.
Maps from the early 1900s show the site was built on what is believed to be a gravel pit, which has led to the ground becoming unstable over the years.
The last survey in August 2018 showed movement was still occurring, although the properties – housed in 13 blocks – are still safe for living in.