All of Motherwell’s tower blocks could become resigned to history under ambitious plans announced by North Lanarkshire Council.
The council is looking to modernise it’s housing stock and the first step will be to demolish all 48 of its residential tower blocks, including the 26 in Motherwell, over the next 20 years.
Part of a strategy to provide better homes, regenerate town centres and create jobs, this project will see around half a billion pounds invested across North Lanarkshire.
Council leader Jim Logue said: “These are hugely ambitious plans. North Lanarkshire is Scotland’s biggest council landlord and we are in the midst of the biggest council housebuilding programme in a generation.
“But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. Towers were once the future of housing and we have invested steadily over the years in them.
“But there is no doubt that we are constrained in improving them by the construction; some of our towers were built 55 years ago. The quality of homes we are now able to build is exceptional, with great access, adaptability and energy efficiency.
“The past few decades have also seen a move away from people living in and near our town centres. It’s essential that we do something to regenerate these towns, which have been hit by the rise of Internet shopping and large out-of-town retail centres.
“One of the best ways to do that is to have people again living in our town centres in modern, fit-for-purpose housing with great amenities and good transport links.
“While not everyone who currently lives in a tower will wish to live in town centres, we aim to create great town centre properties for those who it will suit.”
Last week’s meeting of the full council unanimously approved the housing revenue budget.
Rent increases capped at five per cent over the next four years were approved to allow the council to begin the capital planning to deliver the programme.
The council will consult its 4090 tower residents, including the 2341 living in the Motherwell area, on the plans in February in order to get a clear understanding of their needs and desires for future housing.
Enterprise and housing convener Councillor Allan Graham said: “Some tower residents will be reluctant about these plans and enjoy living in their current homes so it’s important we listen to them before making final decisions.
“It’s hard to understate the significance of these proposals. They will create thousands of jobs over a sustained period and provide a real boost to tenants and our local economy.
“We want to see real progress in tackling the council house waiting list and our commitment to the biggest housebuilding programme in a generation is testament to our ambition for the people of North Lanarkshire.”