Repairs gather pace at Blackbird Leys tower blocks

Published: Wednesday, 22nd June 2016

High level works have started at Evenlode and Windrush towers in Blackbird Leys as preparations to commence repairs at Hockmore Tower in Cowley gather pace.

Two other towers, Plowman in Northway and Foresters in Wood Farm, will see repairs launched in the next few months as part of the City Council’s £20 million project to improve the city’s tower blocks and extend their life.

Workers from the City Council’s contractor, Willmott Dixon Energy Services (WDES), have started external concrete repairs and installation of windows, heating and ventilation systems at Evenlode Tower. They are also upgrading the building’s lift and installing a fire sprinkler system to protect the flats.

At Windrush Tower, demolition of roof parapets is currently underway and work is due to be carried out to the Vodafone aerials on the building’s roof. Workers will soon start re-covering the roofs on the high level plant rooms.

The range of repairs across all five of the city’s tower blocks will include works to the communal structure of the blocks; over-cladding and additional insulation; replacement of windows; new heating and ventilation systems; upgrading of the communal electrics and fire safety systems, and refurbishment of lifts.

Works will also be carried out to improve the grounds, car parks, fencing, landscaping, and front entrances. The council is confident that when completed, the repairs will extend the life of the tower blocks by at least 30 years. The works will improve energy efficiency by reducing heat loss, reduce fire risk, and increase the value of the properties. Residents will also benefit from increased quality of life with the improved look and feel of the tower blocks.

Cllr Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said: “I’m delighted to see the progress that is being made in repairing the tower blocks. Residents are witnessing the transformation of their homes and will soon enjoy the benefits of the improvements. The repairs are breathing a new lease of life into the towers, which will ensure the availability of good quality affordable housing for another generation.”

Richard Crook, WDES Construction Manager, said: “We are pleased with the progress made to Evenlode and Windrush towers, with work to Hockmore tower commencing in the next few weeks. Contributing to the economic wellbeing of communities is also important to us. On this project for Oxford City Council we are committed to using local companies, employing locally and are working with local schools and colleges to promote construction as a career, which includes offering work experience placements and training programmes.”