ALMOST a quarter of residents living in high rise buildings which are to be demolished due to concerns over their long term safety are still waiting for a new place to live more than a year after learning they would lose their home.

In June last year, it was revealed that Anson House and Hudson House in Thornaby, near Stockton, and Jupiter House, Milford House and Portland House in Middlesbrough are to be knocked down, resulting in the loss of 346 homes.

The Northern Echo:

Housing group Thirteen said that the five blocks are all fully compliant with all relevant building and fire safety regulations, but chief executive Ian Wardle confirmed to The Northern Echo that “in time the buildings may become unsafe” and it would be “unsustainable” to carry out the work required.

The firm has now confirmed to the Echo that 160 tennants have moved into new homes, and another 50 are ready to relocate in the "near future".

However, the remaining 66 tennants are still to find new homes, which Thirteen say is down to a "phased rehoming approach" and the "availability and suitability" of housing available.

It is understood the firm intends to have all five tower blocks empty by spring 2020.

Last summer, essential work was carried out on Anson and Hudson House to keep the high risers up to required standards, as bosses feared it may take longer than first thought to find enough housing to move all residents.

A spokesperson for Thirteen said: “Our dedicated relocation team are continuing to work with customers affected by the changes to high-rise properties to move them into suitable homes on a phased basis.

The Northern Echo:

“The relocation of customers from the five blocks in question began at the end of July 2018, and at present, we have helped 160 tenants into their new homes.

“We have 50 tenants ready to move in the near future once work has been completed on their new homes, and we’re working closely with the remaining 66 tenants to find suitable accommodation for them.

“Great progress has already been made, and we expect to see all five blocks empty by spring next year.”

Thirteen previously confirmed the review into their 18 high rise buildings across the Tees Valley was “not directly linked” to the Grenfell Tower disaster, which claimed the lives of 72 people in 2017.

They added that any changes to building regulations which could be brought in following the outcome of the inquiry into the cause of the fire had not impacted the decision.

Once the buildings are demolished, around 100 new homes will be built.