SHETLAND Islands Council is to invest more than £2.5 million into demolishing and rebuilding unsafe council houses in the heart of the Lerwick lanes conservation area.
“Extreme structural problems” came to light after contractors started to remove harling from homes built in the 1970s in Pitt Lane and Park Lane.
During what began as a simple external re-rendering job, structural engineers discovered crumbling blocks and defective foundations compounded by poor workmanship.
“The result was, in places, complete collapse of the outer leaf of block work,” acting head of housing Anita Jamieson wrote in her report to elected members.
On Thursday, councillors voted unanimously to demolish all 19 council houses and replace them with up to 27 new ones.
Councillor Frank Robertson, who used to run the council’s building department, said that this would be the best option if the finance was available.
He said that in the 1970s the council had “extreme difficulties” attracting builders to Shetland and that this development had been “done by an unnamed mainland contractor”.
In her report, Ms Jamieson said that resources could come “as far as it is practicable” from the Housing Revenue Account.
She said that an internal and external refurbishment programme would cost £1.85 million with demolishing and new construction coming in at £2.58 million.
Services committee’s vice chairwoman Betty Fullerton said: “Better spend this money now as we would make savings in the long term.”
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