DEMOLITION work has started on a block of flats fatally undermined in recent flooding ... but they could have been saved if property prices had not plummeted, it has emerged.
Demolition crews working on behalf of Dunelm Homes yesterday began tearing down the eight Spencer Court flats that were undermined by floodwaters following a catastrophic culvert collapse in Newburn, Newcastle, on September 25.
But company boss Brian Manning said that had the property market not dipped by 20% to 30% in the time since the development was built, it may have been worth trying to shore up and repair rather than raze the building.
“I think the cost of rebuilding, given the amount of land washed out, would outweigh the value of the flats now,” said Mr Manning, Dunelm Homes’ executive director.
“But when they were built in 2005 and 2006 it was the peak of the property market and they sold for £140,000 to £150,000. Maybe if they still had their original value it could have been looked at to save them, though even then, it would involve a lot more work.”
According to the Land Registry, prices for a two-bedroom flat in Spencer Court peaked at £167,500 in December 2006 and March 2007. But by 2011 the values had plummeted, with a property only two doors down selling for just £84,000 ... a 49.85% reduction.