BLOCKS of flats in Annan are set to be emptied out by the end of summer to allow demolition work to take place.
But Wheatley Homes South say they do not have any current plans for after they pull the properties down.
Their head of housing Joanne Threlkeld attended Annan Community Council on Monday night to answer questions.
As previously reported in the Annandale Observer, 76 properties in the town are subject to demolition. They are located in Springbells, Esk Place, Eden Place, Fernlea Crescent, Hillview and Shawhill Road. Rehousing of tenants is well underway and a number have moved out already.
Although there is no official timeline for any of the regeneration work, Wheatley’s ultimate aim is to build new homes on the current sites.
Speaking at the meeting, Joanne said: “Currently there are no plans at all (after demolition). We are in the process of getting the demolition order from the council for the properties.
“Our plan is by the end of the summer to have the majority of these properties empty.
“All of our customers in these homes have been consulted with and we’re actively rehousing them.
“Customers subject to regeneration get priority for a move. So, they are top priority, and they need to make sure their applications are up to date and correct to ensure that when we offer them a property it’s in an area they want to move to.”
Addressing reports of people being offered housing outside of Annan when they want to remain in the town, Joanne said: “People can choose the areas they want to live in. On their application they’ll tick where they want to live. We’re not forcing people to live where they don’t want to live.
“We have asked everybody that was in the flats – would you like to return? Some said yes, some said no. When the plans are in place and these new homes are being allocated we’ll then go back to them as priority.
“The rest of the properties would be allocated following our allocation policy.”
On the reasons for demolition work, Joanne said: “For us to bring some of these properties up to standard is going to cost a lot of money and it’s probably better for us to start from scratch.”
Once empty, steel shutters will be placed over windows of the ground floor flats. Joanne was asked how long it would then take before demolition work began.
She said: “Our plan would never be to empty these properties and leave them derelict for any length of time.
“In the meantime we will be putting steel shutters on windows and, when the full blocks are empty, the communal doors to prevent vandalism.
“Our intention would not be for that to sit there for a year. As soon as we can get that demolition order then the ball would be rolling.
“Once the properties are down, the site’s then fully cleared and we would grass it until there is planning permission going through, so it wouldn’t be left in a mess.
“We’re at very very early stages of sitting down and thinking – what’s the demand in Annan and what’s the mix of the types of housing we actually need.”