A council is set to demolish all of its residential tower blocks in a bid to bring communities back to the area’s town centres.
Councillor Jim Logue, leader of North Lanarkshire Council, 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 in Scotland.
“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 council says the move would see around half a billion pounds invested in housing across North Lanarkshire.
Four years ago, a strategy for the future of Scotland’s town centres was commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by renowned architect Malcolm Fraser. In the National Review of Town Centres, Mr Fraser recommended that the government focus on putting the life back into Scotland’s towns, rather than offering incentives for retailers and businesses to set up in out of town malls and business parks.
Councillor Logue said: “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.”
The council said it is also to cap rent increases will be capped at five per cent for the next four years, while the council will consult its 4000 tower households on the plans in February.
Councillor Allan Graham, the council’s convener of enterprise and housing, said: “I understand that some residents of our towers will be reluctant about these plans and enjoy living in their current homes. That’s why it’s important we really listen to them as part of a consultation exercise before making final decisions.”