The Story of Rosebank Tower

September 16, 2019

Rosebank Tower, Allison Drive, Cambuslang, 

South Lanarkshire G72 7HE

 

 Rosebank Tower is a 12 storey high, ‘Reema’ design Large Panel Systems construction containing 72, 2 bedroom flats.

 

It was built in 1969/ 1970 but there were delays on allocating the flats as additional strengthening works costing £165 000 were required to be carried out to satisfy the Scottish Development Department requirements following the Ronan Point disaster.

 

The block was one of 11 ‘sister’ blocks of the same design constructed about the same time by The Aberdeen Construction Group Limited, who were by that time the parent company of Reema (Scotland) Limited. The buildings were constructed for the Local Authority which, at that time, was Lanarkshire County Council.

 

Only the first three blocks constructed, which included Rosebank Tower, had gas supplies fitted and they were fitted with ‘Airdun’ warm air central heating.

 

Each of the 11 blocks also contained laundry facilities. The local newspaper at the time said ‘the laundry will no doubt become the communal talking shop of the housewives in each block’.

 

The flats were offered for rent by the Council and the allocation policy was favored towards elderly residents. Initially no children were allocated to them however this changed when the later development of 6 blocks in nearby Whitlawburn was completed. Each block had a resident caretaker who worked full time in their block (and was unofficially on call).

 

Generally, the three blocks located in Central Cambuslang were sought after and maintained to a good standard. The Local Authority Housing allocations Policy maintained the ‘elderly / no children’  policies and these ensured these flats were desirable.

 

Structural faults in the blocks included water ingress which was largely ignored by the Local Authority. Over time the open access to the blocks was amended and controlled entry was fitted to all blocks.

 

Local Governments reorganisation in Scotland resulted in the housing stock being transferred to Glasgow City Council in 1975. There followed a period of perceived lack of investment in former Lanarkshire County areas and this resulted in the establishment of a Housing Association in Whitlawburn whereby they took control of 6 of the 11 tower blocks.

 

The Housing Association surveyed tenants to ascertain their main concerns, expecting it would be mainly water ingress. Instead the tenants identified building security as the main concern. They then carried out a major investment programme in the area where they overclad the blocks, eliminating water ingress, established a full CCTV system aligned with 24/7 concierge coverage and provided full controlled entry, not only to the blocks but also to individual floors. These actions received numerous positive feedbacks.

 

Glasgow City Council continued to manage the other blocks, including Rosebank Tower, but investment was lacking. During their guardianship, a number of properties were sold under ‘Right to Buy’ legislation (now outlawed in Scotland). In Rosebank Tower a total of 19 (of 72) flats were sold, to mostly long term tenants. The Local Authority continues to act as the building factor (Manager) as provided in the building Title Deeds. In Scotland all flats are sold as freehold and the common parts of Rosebank Tower are owned equally between all flat owners.

 

In 1996 another Local Government reorganisation saw Cambuslang move from City Of Glasgow control to South Lanarkshire Council.

 

Many aspects continued as before, with no major investments.

 

In 2012, in pursuance if Scottish Government energy efficiency targets and financial incentives, South Lanarkshire Council we’re approached by NPower who offered to provide Cladding to the building to improve thermal qualities. These works included the fitting if new windows etc.

 

In order to meet timescales to obtain the necessary grants the works were quickly carried out.

 

From the beginning, all 5 blocks where works were done suffered more water ingression and complaints regarding wind draughts. Despite continued complaints no remedial works were started until August 2019.

 

The residential caretakers were removed by the Local Authority in 2013.

 

Tenants and Residents in the three blocks situated within ‘Central Cambuslang’ were able to join the ‘Central Cambuslang Tenants and Residents Association’ (CCTRA) which also included a large number of mixed tenure housing.

 

Every year the CCTRA held their Annual General Meeting where members had an opportunity to question the Committee and the Local Authority Housing officials. In 2016 these officials failed to attend the AGM. They intimated they would no longer attend them.

 

Owner occupiers in Rosebank Tower, given the absence of Local Authority Housing Officers at the AGM, consulted available information regarding their properties. This led them to check their property Title Deeds which showed they were entitled to form a building Property Council of all owners and a Committee to carry out certain functions relating to the building ‘common parts’ specified in the Deeds.

 

The Property Council was established in January 2017 and have, generally, quarterly meetings. These are Chaired by the Local Authority Factoring Manager (as per Title Deeds). A number of areas of improvement have been obtained and communications are improved. The local Housing Department staff have not embraced the Council or Committee and have provided resistance to it.

 

Long standing issues in the blocks include water ingression, infestation (carpet beetles), Asbestos, maintenance of the common parts and communication / consultation by the Local Authority.

 

An example of the lack of investment is the common landing floor coverings. When the building was built in 1970 these consisted of industrial type laminate floor tiles measuring approximately 1 foot square. These are still in situ today, despite occupants requests for replacement. Over the years a number of individual tiles were replaced when identified as broken. Recently it has not been possible to source similar matching tiles and this has resulted in different colours.

 

Other blocks which formed part of the same Reema large precast concrete panels development were:-

Standford Hall, Allison Drive, Cambuslang. G72 7HG

Sherry Heights, Keirs Walk, Cambuslang G72 7 HH

Logan Tower, Claude Avenue, Cambuslang G72 8XW

Springhall Court, Slenavon Avenue, Cambuslang G73 5NN

Arran Tower, Hilton Terrace, Cambuslang G72 8LW

Ailsa Tower,  Albany Terrace, Cambuslang G72 8PG

Benmore Tower, Arkle Terrace, Cambuslang G72 8LR

Bute Tower, Clifton’s Terrace, Cambuslang, G72 8YR

Kintore Tower, Gartmore Terrace, Cambuslang G72 8QH

Roslin Tower, Buchan Terrace, Cambuslang G72 8LT

 

Gerry Boyd

Secretary 

Rosebank Tower Property Committee 

 

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