Demolition of six ageing high-rise blocks across Leeds approved

The demolition of six ageing high-rise blocks across Leeds has been approved by senior city councillors.

Bailey Towers, Brooklands Towers and Ramshead Heights in Seacroft will all be mothballed once all residents living there are rehoused by the council.

Leafield Towers in Moortown and Raynville Court and Raynville Grange in Armley will also be torn down, with the work likely to take place in early 2026.

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All six blocks, which accommodate 360 residents between them, were built in the 1960s. While still safe to live in, the council says they’ve reached the end of their useful life and it is cheaper to demolish them and build new homes on the sites than to refurbish them.

Bailey Towers in Seacroft is likely to be demolished. Picture from Google Maps (2021).Bailey Towers in Seacroft is likely to be demolished. Picture from Google Maps (2021).
Bailey Towers in Seacroft is likely to be demolished. Picture from Google Maps (2021).

The move was agreed despite calls from opposition leaders to delay the decision.

Councillor Jess Lennox, executive member for housing, told a meeting of the council’s executive board on Wednesday that “doing nothing was not an option”.

Explaining why revamping the current buildings was ruled out, she said: “These residents would need to be removed from the flats completely for the period of time that refurbishment work was done, because the work would involve completely stripping out the flats.

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“We can’t leave the residents in these flats, which have reached the end of their life.”

The leader of the Leeds’ Liberal Democrat group, Stewart Golton, had called for approval of the demolition to be delayed, claiming it would heap pressure on the council housing system, with demand already at an “all time high”.

And at Wednesday’s meeting, Conservative leader Alan Lamb also raised concerns about the potential impact of inflation on the costs of the work and questioned whether the demolition could be done more gradually.

He said: “I think we’re making a decision prematurely. Not knowing the financial circumstances and the length of time we’ve got, I think there’s more work to be done this.

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“This could be something that ends up costing us a lot more than we’re anticipating.”

But Councillor Lennox said the local authority “couldn’t indefinitely defer a decision”.

The meeting was told that residents broadly backed the demolition, though Councillor Lamb asked for more evidence around how they were consulted.

Cllr Lennox said: “They (the flats) are currently safe.

“It’s not an emergency situation like the government’s school crisis situation, but we’re taking a pro-active decision, to make sure we have the time and capacity to provide the people currently living in these blocks with the houses they need.”

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