The first steps to breathing new life into an old, unpopular housing scheme have been taken as demolition work begins at Newmonthill near Forfar town centre.
Councillor Colin Brown, vice-convener of neighbourhood services, formally let the diggers on to the site on Friday.
Five blocks of existing flats are to be carefully taken down to ground level, and then replaced with 18 high quality town houses, as part of Angus Council’s new build council house programme.
The existing flats were emptied in 2008 when tenants opted to move to more attractive accommodation elsewhere in Forfar that better fitted their needs.
It has taken several years to identify the best solution for the area due to the challenging gradients on the site.
Funding of £495,000 from the Scottish Government has been secured by the council to help deliver the £3.2 million build of 18 new houses for rent, which will incorporate sprinklers and very high levels of insulation.
These features will increase home safety and help combat fuel poverty through substantially lower fuel bills for tenants.
They form part of Angus Council’s ambitious building programme to provide 147 new council houses, which will help reduce the housing waiting list, and realise the council’s vision of building quality affordable and energy efficient homes for rent in areas of highest need across Angus.
Councillor Brown was joined at the event by other elected members, council officials, and representatives from Forth Demolition, the contractor responsible for the demolition part of the project.
Councillor Brown commented: “I am delighted to see work begin on this development as it will play a major part in helping to re-shape this part of Forfar.
“These new council houses will far surpass the old flats in terms of quality and design and will make a real difference to the lives of families and individuals in Forfar by increasing the number of affordable properties available for rent.
“I’m particularly proud of the way that this project not only makes great use of a brown-field site, but the design of the new houses also makes use of as much of the old existing structure as possible. This will substantially reduce the level of demolition material going to landfill, and cuts the carbon footprint of the houses dramatically.
“I would like to see this innovative approach used more often across the construction industry.”
Forth Demolition will complete their demolition works in July.
A separate contractor will then be responsible for erecting 18 council townhouses for rent, to be complete by November 2013.