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Tower blocks across Bradford to be demolished amid falling demand

Crossley Wood, Bingley.

A council committee heard that developer Incommunities had 342 empty properties.

Limited demand for flats in tower blocks is likely to lead to many of these buildings in Bradford being cleared – a meeting was told.

Housing provider Incommunities has already demolished several tower blocks in Bingley to make way for a more traditional housing estate, and plans to knock down a number of high rise flats on Manchester Road. These would also be replaces with an estate of 61 family homes.

At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee this week, members were told that Incommunities had reviewed all its stock of high rise buildings, and that this type of accommodation was increasingly unpopular.

Angela Perry, Assistant Chief Executive, Asset Management, told the committee that the group was focused on the “right housing in the right place.”

A review of housing demand identified 11 tower blocks with “very limited demand” and that required high costs to bring up to standards – especially following the Grenfell Tower blaze.

As well as three blocks at Crossley Wood, Bingley, there were eight blocks at Manchester Road that will soon go.

She told the committee there were just four people left in those flats – as work has been ongoing for some time to re-locate tenants.

Demolition work on these flats is due to begin within the next month.

She added: “There are other tower blocks in the district where we will have to take some longer term decisions.”

Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab, Wibsey) said: “Are we saying that’s the end of tower block accommodation in Bradford?

“I know lots and lots of people who have lived in tower blocks. I know very few who ever thought about staying in them.”

Mrs Perry said: “We have 19 tower blocks in our portfolio.

“People are using these flats as a stop gap. Because of recommendations after the Grenfell review there are additional costs we have to put into these blocks, not just tower blocks but other blocks of flats. There are financial calculations that have to be made.”

Shelagh O’Neill. Assistant Director – Economy and Development at Bradford Council said there was likely to be a shift towards a different type of housing in Bradford.

She said: “There will be a shift from large individual houses on large greens. We’ll be looking for more density of houses, places that are more liveable and active. That is where people want to live.”

The committee heard that Incommunities had 342 empty properties, most of which were located in the city centre high rise blocks.

When Incommunities first announced its plans to demolish the Manchester Road flats, back in 2018, the group said it was struggling to fill all 315 flats due to low demand, and that they were then only 50 per cent occupied.

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