Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Not millions, but BILLIONS said to be needed to repair Glasgow’s tenements

I almost included this item in this earlier post:

Glasgow’s million pound problems – after the 2014 Commonwealth Games handout

But I thought it would be better to keep it separate, lest the difference between the references to millions and BILLIONS was lost by having the two together.

Billions may be needed to fix Glasgow’s crumbling tenements after it was revealed that thousands of closes are in ‘critical disrepair’.

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.

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

Govanhill, Ibrox, Cessnock, East Pollokshields, 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.

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.

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.

‘Billions needed’ to fix Glasgow’s crumbling tenement blocks

The usual response will NOT be acceptable

I don’t seem to have seen any follow-up articles to this story, but I can’t see it being ignored.

I expect, at some point, to see the usual army of council-bashers appear, and provide their normal knee-jerk reaction, kicking the Glasgow City Council, and producing a list of reasons blaming it as the cause of this issue.

But I suggest a moment’s thought before accepting their standard vitriol, and a review of the problem, and who contributed to it.

I happen to have personal experience of tenement repair dealings some years ago, and it cost me tens of thousands of pounds, directly and indirectly.

I inherited a tenement flat, probably then worth around £20 k in the east end.

Didn’t need, so it was to be sold.

Guess what?

UNSELLABLE (or at leat no buyer would get a mortgage) as it needed serious structural repairs – a survey showed one wall facing the street to have a bulge.

Being a tenement, the repair needed consent and money from ALL the tenants sharing the wall, which included shop owners on the ground floor.

The shop owners (and I can’t make a racist comment here, but we didn’t ‘look’ like ‘their people’) told us to ‘Go take a running jump’ as they had no interest in talking to us, in the repair, or contributing, as the bulge did not affect their business, and fixing it would not make them any money, or bring them any benefits.

The other flats were owned by the local housing association, whose only interest was to get ‘us’ out of the building so they could add the flat to their portfolio. They also had no interest in contributing to the repair.

And their tenants didn’t want to know, since they were just renting their flats.

Total stalemate for decades!

There was no compulsion since the building was not unsafe, just unmortgageable.

We were, of course, invited to pay for the work ourselves, rather than paying just our share, we were welcome to pay for everyone else’s.

We eventually lost the flat for a few thousand, because we had managed to get the council tax suspended, but the collector was getting fed up, and looked as if the suspension would not only end, but the unpaid tax would fall due as well. And as I said, this went on not for years, but decades.

The reason I illustrate this point in some detail is merely to demonstrate that while the council may be at the top of tree in some respects, it is NOT responsible for the detailed day-to-day handling of tenements, but does come into the headlines when others land problems in its lap.

And the parties who are REALLY responsible sneak off into the shadows with a ‘Not my problem mate’ smirk.

I’ve also read one or two histories of our tenements, and would point out there were just as many ‘cowboy builders’ around in 1900 as there are today.

While the sandstone facades may seem superior, I’ve read it was not uncommon to find that the brickwork behind it is shoddy, and that some were found to be packed out with newspaper and cardboard during the demolitions carried out in the 1960s and 1970s.

This sort of stuff simply can’t be seen from the outside, but can explain why some tenements are falling apart today, and in such bad condition.

This issue needs to be addressed responsibly, by those who have had a hand in it over the years.

NOT by simply kicking the council as if it was the ONLY party involved.

Glasgow Tenement

Glasgow Tenement (now demolished)

30/11/2018 - Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | ,

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