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Hundreds of Torry council tenants to be moved out ‘as soon as possible’ amid Raac crisis

£3 million has been put aside to pay for moving hundreds out of their Aberdeen City Council homes in Balnagask.

Torry Raac: Aberdeen City Council is taking action after an engineer report on the crumbly concrete in around 500 homes. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson
The crumbly concrete has been found in around 500 homes. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Hundreds of people living in Torry are to be moved from their council homes “as soon as possible” over fears about Raac.

A multi-million-plan is being drawn up to find permanent new housing for residents in 364 council properties in Balnagask.

Structural engineers have urged Aberdeen City Council to move “as quickly as possible” after sampling homes known to contain Raac, or reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete.

Council vans outside housing last October. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Around 500 homes in Balnagask are known to contain panels of the lightweight, bubbly material.

It was widely used in construction between the 1950s and 1990s.

But alarms were raised across the country as roofs began to collapse in buildings built with the now flawed, crumbling concrete.

While Torry is the main focus in the Raac hunt in Aberdeen council housing, the material has been found in roofs of schools, hospitals and the Town House.

Torry residents to be moved from homes with Raac ‘as soon as possible’

Residents in Balnagask were first told of the likelihood of Raac being used in the construction of their homes last autumn.

Within weeks, long-empty council properties in Torry were being sacrificed to the search.

Workers surveyed various properties. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The worst-condition council housing was ripped apart to allow structural engineers to get a better handle on how the Raac might have deteriorated.

The independent experts presented their findings to Aberdeen City Council on February 22.

At an urgently arranged meeting on Thursday, councillors voted to permanently rehome local authority residents in the affected Balnagask homes.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader councillor Ian Yuill
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Ian Yuill helmed the behind-closed-doors talks. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Soon after, council staff were sent out to hand-deliver letters to their tenants.

They also began contacting owners and tenants of the approximately 140 private homes also impacted.

Housing and support officers will meet with all affected residents to discuss the options.

Raac situation ‘incredibly difficult’ for Torry residents

Council housing convener Miranda Radley said: “This is an incredibly difficult situation for everyone living in a Raac affected property.

“But the council will be doing everything we can to support our tenants during this hugely challenging time.

“These are people’s homes and we need to ensure we support our tenants, but also engage with owners and privately rented tenants.”

Lynne Walker of Balnagask.
Lynne Walker of Balnagask lasat year told us how concerned she was about the Raac situation in Torry. Image: Graham Fleming/ DC Thomson.

What will happen to the Torry homes built with Raac?

As well as contemplating how to move more than 360 people from their homes as quickly as possible, council chiefs must now work out if the Balnagask buildings can be saved.

Officials are exploring options for the long-term viability of the Raac-affected Torry homes.

Discussions will include whether they can be fixed or need to be bulldozed.

City housing bosses have been given six months to consider the options.

Balnagask Road homes are affected. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

What have tenants been told?

Letters are being delivered across the affected properties this afternoon.

They shed some more light on engineers’ findings.

The letter, quickly shared on social media, states: “The recommendation based on their findings is that any short term remedial works undertaken will not give suitable medium to long term comfort in relation to the condition of the RAAC panels.

“It is considered that comprehensive remedial works will be required and a period of time is necessary to consider and review all options.

“We recognise that all of the possible options will be incredibly disruptive to tenants, and cannot be undertaken while you remain in the property.

“We understand that moving home can raise a number of questions and appreciate that you may feel settled within your existing community.”