Permission sought to demolish Larne's last remaining tower block

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has received a planning application for the demolition of Larne’s last remaining tower block.
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Latharna House, a block of high-rise flats at Riverdale in the town, is scheduled to be tumbled early next year.

In March, the Housing Executive confirmed the last remaining tenant of Latharna House had been rehoused and the building secured. A health and safety survey was due to be carried out on site for asbestos.

Latharna House is the last of three blocks of Housing Executive flats at Riverdale. Gardenmore House and Shane House have been demolished already.

Latharna House. Pic: Local Democracy Reporting ServiceLatharna House. Pic: Local Democracy Reporting Service
Latharna House. Pic: Local Democracy Reporting Service

It is understood the Housing Executive has been approached by housing associations about building accommodation on the Latharna House site.

Twenty-four one-bedroom apartments are earmarked for the site of the former Gardenmore House flats at Riverdale.

This project will see the development of a new five-storey apartment building, containing 24 category one apartments, which are for people over 55 years of age, three of which will be wheelchair accessible.

A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “We’re currently proceeding with plans to demolish Latharna House and a tender will be issued for the work in the next few months.

“Subject to a successful tender exercise, we hope to be in a position to appoint a demolition contractor by the start of 2024. We anticipate it will take approximately a year to fully demolish the block. Following demolition, the site will be cleared and a review of housing need will be carried out.”

Commenting on the proposal, Coast Road DUP Councillor Andrew Clarke, said: “It is is great to hear of further progress in the demolition of Latharna House. I very much welcome news that we are entering the final stages.

“While many residents will have happy memories of time spent there, I don’t think high rise buildings were ever a great fit for a small coastal town. Without ongoing maintenance and investment there was a risk of attracting anti-social behaviour.

“I would encourage NIHE to keep their housing stock under review: there is a strong demand for social housing and old buildings must be replaced with newer capacity to meet future need.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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