Bernadette Hewitt ‘sets record straight’ on media coverage of Wyndford regeneration

Bernadette Hewitt 'sets record straight' on media coverage of Wyndford regeneration

Bernadette Hewitt

Wheatley Group has criticised media coverage of its proposed demolition of four tower blocks in the Wyndford area of Glasgow.

The landlord plans to invest £73 million in building 300 new homes in the area and carrying out other major improvements.

Four multi-storey blocks – at 151, 171, 191 and 120 Wyndford Road – will be demolished to make way for the new homes. All other blocks in Wyndford are being retained and upgraded.

More than 250 of the new homes will be for social housing, with the rest for affordable housing, and a large number will be homes for families.

The plans have been met with opposition from a number of people who live in the area, outside campaigners and some architects who favour retaining the blocks.

However, the tenant chair of Wheatly Homes Glasgow has said those who have spoken out do not represent the community.

In a letter sent to the letters pages of the Glasgow Times and The Herald, Bernadette Hewitt said she wanted to “set the record straight” and claims the balance of media coverage has been tipped in favour of this “small group”.

She said: “With respect, your coverage to date has been heavily weighted to reflect the views of a small group of activists and a never-ending flow of myths and half-truths.

“One thing’s certain: these people don’t represent the 94% of tenants who’ve successfully and happily moved out of the tower blocks into much more suitable, attractive and quality homes and communities of their choice. Nor do they represent the vast majority of tenants still in the blocks, who continue to talk to us daily and positively about their housing needs, preferences and options.”

Ms Hewitt said the tower blocks are “unpopular and unsustainable” and they cannot be retrofitted, as the campaigners argue.

“A comprehensive report by one of the UK’s leading authorities in such matters concluded categorically retrofit would compromise the structural integrity and stability of the buildings. Case closed,” she added.

The chair said: “The eight-week consultation held last year – and overseen by Scotland’s leading independent tenant advisory group – resulted in 87% of tenants in these four blocks supporting demolition and the bold, exciting plans to invest £73 million in creating an exciting new dawn for this part of north Glasgow.

“The 200 bedsits and 400 one-bedroom flats in the blocks have been for years seriously unpopular. The refusal rate is almost double the average – as is turnover. Not surprisingly, an application to Historic Environment Scotland by protestors to have the tower blocks listed was conclusively rejected, with the body stating the buildings did not meet the criteria of special architectural or historic interest required for listing.

“These dated, no longer acceptable units will be replaced by 300 affordable homes, 255 of which will be for social rent. The houses and flats will be attractive, fuel efficient and of the highest quality, offering the same number, if not more bedrooms.”

Recently, a new environmental report by a leading UK architect supported Wheatley’s proposals.

In his report, Dr Richard Atkins stated: ‘there is little or no basis on which to argue for the retention of the existing blocks on the grounds of either energy efficiency or CO2(e) emissions’ as the four blocks have ‘no embodied emissions value’.

Meanwhile, heritage body Historic Environment Scotland decided not to list the four multi-storey blocks, ruling that the buildings do not meet the criteria of special architectural or historic interest required for listing.

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