The tallest high-rise tower block in Leicester is set to be demolished this summer. The Leicester City Council has reconfirmed their plans to take the Goscote House building after it was decommissioned in 2018 after structural reports called into doubt the viability of the building in the long-term.
The 23-storey residential building on the St Peter’s estate was deemed unsuitable for residents following a detailed specialist survey. All tenants were relocated after the report and the building is now vacant.
However, plans to demolish the building have seen complications over the years. Recent surveys have identified significant risks with the proposed procedure. The budget has now been increased to £5 million to help alleviate these issues. This budget includes a substantial contingency fund in recognition of the complexity of bringing down a building of this size in such a confined space, while minimising disruption to people living and working in the immediate area.
It’s said that the building could be kept maintained for about 30 more years, but refurbishment costs would be in the region of over £21 million. Inspections would also be required every five years to guarantee the ongoing structural integrity of the building.
There are discussions in play as to what to do with the land once the building has been removed. A six-story residential block has been suggested, which would cost in the region of £10 million.
Removing the interior of the property is due to begin this July, and the proper demolition of the structure, which will be done floor by floor, is expected to begin in late-2021. It is estimated this could take around 10 months to complete.
Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, assistant city mayor for housing, said: “While we have made major investments to refurbish our other four tower blocks, Goscote House is a relic of a time when housing needs were very different.
“To refurbish to modern standards would require huge investment and we are still looking at a building which is fast approaching the end of its useful life.
“In the long term, bring the building down and exploring in detail how we redevelop the site is the best option for the city.”
City Mayor Peter Soulsby added: “One of the most satisfying things about being Mayor for almost 10 years has been the chance to sweep away concrete monsters from previous decades and create modern, attractive spaces for a proud forward-looking city.
“I don’t think anyone now questions the decision to demolish New Walk Centre, the old indoor market or Belgrave Flyover. These have cleared the way for exciting new development in the city.
“The demolition of Goscote House will represent a significant investment in the St Peter’s estate.”
The demolition costs will be met through the city council’s capital budget.
By Sam Ellison