Statement on Leamington and Horatia House

The city council has announced today that structural reports commissioned by the local authority have shown that the concrete used in the construction of Leamington and Horatia House is not as strong as would be expected.

Whilst there is no immediate threat to residents, concrete testing has shown that if there were a severe explosion inside a flat it would inflict a greater level of damage to the structure of the building than expected. Therefore, residents will be gradually evacuated and housed in alternative accommodation.

Although the risk of an explosion is relatively low since there is no gas supply to the buildings, a 24 hour security presence has been introduced to act as a fire watch. Fire safety advice has not changed and the stay put policy remains in place.

The council hopes to have moved all residents to new homes by 2019, all tenants moved will be entitled to a home loss payment.

If residents have any questions or need advice regarding Leamington and Horatia House they can:

• Talk to council staff in Leamington House and Horatia House at one of their drop in sessions in the community room from 9am to 8pm Tuesday 5 June to Friday 8 June

• Visit the community information point in the Somerstown Hub, the local housing office will be open:

8.30am to 8pm Tuesday 5 June to Friday 8 June

9am to 4pm Saturday 9 June

10am to 3pm Sunday 10 June

◦ Normal hours 8.30am to 5pm Monday-Thursday and 8.30am to 4pm Friday

• Speak to their housing officer

• Call the council helpline on 023 9284 1311

• Email towerblocks@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“I have been fully briefed on the programme by the council’s senior management team and will remain updated as it progresses. I’ve already made a number of suggestions regarding support for families affected.

If any residents have any doubts at all about what they should be doing or what will be happening I urge them to contact the council directly using the dedicated email or helpline.

What is crucial now is that the Government steps up and assists the council with the scale and cost of this project. I’ll be seeking Government backing and support on behalf of residents.”