Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Call for tower blocks' demolition

Protest at tower blocks
Protesters said the council had gone back on its promise

People living near two Birmingham tower blocks have held a protest calling for the buildings to be demolished.

Marie Phipps, who lives on the Bromford Estate, said the empty flats there attracted anti-social behaviour.

People at Friday's protest said the city council seemed set on refurbishing the towers, going back on plans made four years ago to demolish them.

The council said it was having to rethink the plans as it struggles to deal with a housing "crisis".

Ms Phipps said the situation was so bad she was considering leaving the estate after 42 years.

"The two tower blocks are a complete eyesore. They just promote anti-social behaviour and I don't want to live round here," she said.

'Massive rise'

Birmingham City Council spent nearly 1m moving tenants from the towers in 2005 to prepare for the demolition.

But the council said it was now facing a different situation, with more repossessions one of the issues.

Councillor John Lines, cabinet member in charge of housing, said: "It is a crisis.

"In the last six to 12 months we have had a massive rise in the number of homeless people in the city of Birmingham who we can't accommodate at the moment.

"I have to think how I can help these people. How I can help these families."

His colleague, Councillor Gwyne Neilly, said the council would consider refurbishing the towers after they had been examined.

"If they are structurally safe then we are going to try and find some money, if not they will come down," she said.

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