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The project to replace two Portsmouth City Council tower blocks has reached another landmark with Horatia House now deconstructed.

Craning down of the blocks’ 5,000 concrete panels began in November and this stage of Somerstown’s regeneration is set to be completed in the autumn.

Removal of nearby Leamington House by contractor Hughes and Salvidge is approaching the halfway point, and in removing the total of 272 flats across 18 storeys each, about 23,500 tonnes of concrete and 500 tonnes of metal from the blocks will have been saved for reuse or recycling.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, Cllr Darren Sanders, said: “This is an important milestone. It’s a sad day for everyone who lived in Horatia House, but the exciting plans local people are devising suggest that something better can emerge from the rubble.”

Horatia and Leamington Houses Community Panel members Trish Bell, Maria Cole and Jan Dod, with cabinet members Councillors Chris Attwell and Darren Sanders

The council and design team from Karakusevic Carson Architects are working on a replacement plan which will ensure every flat is replaced by a new one for council tenants, and potentially some additional social housing, as well as about 200 other homes in the area.

An important piece of the design phase has been engaging former block residents and people, businesses and organisations in Somerstown on creating a development which satisfies everyone.

Monthly meetings of the community panel and open events, such as the Somerstown May Fayre, have given the council and architects a steer on what the community wants, including more parking and plenty of space for children’s activities.

If you would like to take part in the community panel and help influence the development of the housing and open space scheme, contact Tim Raw, the council’s regeneration engagement manager, on or 07901 100537.

Shown in the picture above are Horatia and Leamington Houses Community Panel members (from left) Trish Bell, Maria Cole and Jan Dod, with cabinet members (from left) Cllr Chris Attwell and Cllr Darren Sanders.