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Repair bill for city’s crumbling tenements could be billions

A shocking new report has estimated that around 46,600 tenement flats, which were built before 1919, have been deemed dangerous and need structural, weather-tightening and restoration work.

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 £2.9bn across the city.

Frank McAveety, leader of the Glasgow’s Labour group, said: “The scale of this is enormous and it requires a step change in housing investment in Scotland.

“My experience is that if housing associations are given the financial support, they can make a difference to these properties.”

The council has around 70,000 tenements in total which were built prior to 1919.

Govanhill, Ibrox, Cessnock, East Pollockshields, Strathbungo, Haghill and Dennistoun have all been identified as areas with pre-1919 houses in “poor condition”.

In the last 40 years funding for repairs to the old tenements has come from the Scottish Government’s private sector housing grant, with around £6m annually having been allocated in recent years.

Council chiefs have 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’ve undertaken a pilot stock condition survey of 50 tenemental properties in Ibrox and Cessnock.

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

He revealed that one tenement in the southside, which now sits vacant after being deemed too dangerous to live in, has a repair bill of more than £700,000.

Another in the south side has also been deemed too dangerous and the cost to repair it is more than £800,000.

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.

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