Councillors in South Ayrshire will be asked next week to give the green light to a consultation with tenants on the future of the three high-rise blocks of flats at Riverside Place in Ayr.
The proposal will be put to Councillors when they consider the findings of a structural survey of the buildings at Leadership Panel on 27 November.
The survey confirms that – in addition to the planned improvement works that are currently on site – further "essential and advisable" works have been identified.
These include the removal of the external cladding, existing timber and aluminium windows, and pitched roof covering; new insulated render system; full rewiring; new heating and hot water systems; upgrading the sprinkler system; and upgrading passenger lifts.
Given the extent of the works required and the disruption these would cause, the advice from experts is that each block of flats would need to be empty for up to one year, which would have a significant impact on current tenants at Riverside Place.
Alongside this, the additional costs for the identified works – including costs to decant tenants and the related loss of rental income – are estimated to be in the range of £28 million to £35 million.
Taking all of this into account, the report to the Leadership Panel will ask Councillors to approve a formal consultation with tenants on the survey findings as well as the alternative options available to provide them with suitable homes.
Options that will be explored as part of the consultation are likely to include refurbishment of the existing buildings in line with the identified works, potential demolition of the Riverside Place flats and new-build housing on the same site, new-build housing in other parts of Ayr, and consideration of the use of the Council's existing housing stock.
Donald Gillies, South Ayrshire Council's Director – Place, said: "As we consider what happens next with the high flats in Ayr, our tenants will continue to be our focus at all times. That's why we're asking Councillors to approve a formal consultation where we can sit down on an individual basis with each and every one of our tenants in Riverside Place and discuss their specific needs and preferences.
"If Councillors agree, we're also seeking approval to appoint two dedicated officers to lead on the consultation and engagement exercise, which would get underway in the new year with a further report to Councillors in June.
"It would only be then that any decision on the future of the flats would be taken and tenants would be involved in discussions every step of the way."
The Leadership Panel report, 'Multi-Storey Flats – Riverside Place, Ayr' is available at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/riverside-report.