Tower blocks leaseholders notified of details of repair works and costs

Published: Monday, 11th January 2016

Leaseholders in Oxford’s five tower blocks have been given details of the proposed repair works in their specific blocks.

They have also been given the estimated contribution to be paid by each leaseholder towards the cost of the £20m refurbishment project. 

The city council is consulting leaseholders over a period of 30 days - until 8 February - to get their observations and comments on the proposed works and costs. The repairs include works to the communal structure of the blocks; over-cladding and additional insulation; replacement of windows; new heating systems; upgrading of the communal electrics and fire safety systems, and refurbishment of lifts. 

The council will also carry out works beyond its obligations under the lease to improve the grounds, car parks, fencing, landscaping, and front entrances. Leaseholders will not be asked to contribute to the costs incurred on these works. 

When completed the repairs will extend the life of the flats by a minimum of 30 years, improve energy efficiency by reducing heat loss, cut fuel bills, reduce fire risk, and increase the value of the properties. The quality of life for residents will also increase with the improved look and feel of the tower blocks.

The council will be applying to the Property Chamber of HM Courts & Tribunals Service for a determination on what works are reasonable to charge for and what a reasonable charge is. It has also offered leaseholders a range of repayment options to help them settle their bills.

Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing and Property Services, said: “Our officers have offered face to face advice to everyone and this current consultation provides yet another opportunity for leaseholders to submit their observations and comments to us.

"We have taken the unusual step of seeking independent advice as to the reasonableness of our charges to ensure that the ultimate contribution to be made by leaseholders is fair. The range of repayment options that we’re offering, subject to eligibility, will go a long way in helping leaseholders to settle their bills. Our housing budget comes from our tenants' rents so we cannot ask them to subsidise improvements to private properties. Referring the costs to the Property Chamber will ensure that everyone pays their fair share.”