Milton Keynes City Council have said they will move tenants and leaseholders out of flats constructed with 1960s-built REEMA blocks.
Tenants and leaseholders living in 180 flats in 18 ‘REEMA’ blocks in Bletchley have been contacted this week to confirm they will be helped to find new homes as part of a programme to move everyone out of the 1960s-built flats by the end of 2028.
Like multiple councils around the UK with houses built using REEMA blocks, Milton Keynes City Council is looking to move tenants out before the type and cost of repairs required to keep buildings to an expected standard becomes unmanageable.
The city council has been working with industry experts to carry out detailed assessments of the blocks, which were built more than 50 years ago using a method where chemicals were added to concrete.
While the flats are safe to live in, it’s now understood that buildings constructed this way become more susceptible to the weather over time, and the surface of the concrete can become loose. The city council has installed fencing around some areas of the blocks to protect residents from loose concrete. Scaffolding is also in place to allow ongoing monitoring and any surface repairs needed.
The city council has contacted its tenants to confirm they will be helped to move from the four-storey flats into another home that suits their needs. The moves will happen in three phases over the next five years. During this time the city council will continue to make necessary repairs as they are needed.
After all residents have moved, the site will be considered for new affordable homes, depending on available budgets.
Other local authorities across the country are dealing with ageing REEMA blocks and are expected to take similar action. For instance, in Leeds the council is decommissioning two 10-storey blocks with residents set to move out over ten years, and in Portsmouth residents will move from more than 250 flats.
Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, Cllr Emily Darlington, said, “Over the next five years we will proactively be moving people into new homes that meet their needs. And we will be monitoring the buildings regularly to ensure that they remain safe. Residents in the first wave will have one to one meetings with a dedicated housing officer who will assess their needs and find a new home for them.
“Unfortunately, treating the concrete issues is uneconomical and unaffordable for the Council and is a nationwide issue for this type of historic building material. We’re taking a far more common-sense proactive decision to help people move into new homes that suit their needs.”