The tallest remaining tower block built using the same large panel system as Ronan Point is set to be demolished due to concerns about its “long-term structural integrity”.
Leicester’s deputy mayor approved proposals to knock down Goscote House, a 23-storey block built by Taylor Wimpey in 1973. Ronan Point, was a tower block in Newham, east London which partially collapsed after a gas explosion in May 1968, killing four people just two months after the block had opened.
Goscote House is one of five tower blocks on the city’s St Peter’s Estate – the other four blocks have already been refurbished. Goscote House consists of 134 flats, of which about a quarter are understood to be empty. The block is locally unpopular, difficult to let and suffers from anti-social behaviour issues. An investigation found the structural integrity of Goscote House’s concrete frame cannot be guaranteed for longer than five years. Examination of the building found any upgrade work should be kept to a minimum and external cladding or insulation should not be installed because the structure could not cope with the additional weight.
The council had planned to refurbish the block at a cost of around £6.5m, including retrofitting water sprinklers. Instead it now plans to demolish the building for around £3m and either redevelop the site or to sell it on. Building a new tower block similar in size to Goscote House would cost around £17.3m, while valuers estimate it would fetch £1.2m on the open market in its current state or £8.35m after refurbishment. Student accommodation is believed to be one of the building’s most likely alternative uses.
By Patrick Mooney, editor