FINAL preparations are under way to demolish run-down flats in South Tyneside.
Residents of Farding Square, South Shields, have almost completed their move out of the 1950s homes in Marsden.
Almost half of the tenants in the six blocks have been found new accommodation prior to the bulldozers moving in.
Whitburn and Marsden councillor, Peter Boyack said: “With the blocks needing major structural work and costs running into the millions, it was clear that the best option for residents and the wider neighbourhood was to demolish the old blocks and build alternative homes.
“Our staff have been working hard to support tenants and help them find new homes suitable for their needs, and already 30 have got settled elsewhere.
“Tenants in the third and final phase will be able to bid for council properties with the benefit of Band 1 priority.
“This will help people to get sorted with minimum hassle, and also enable the area’s renewal to get under way as quickly as possible.”
The council made the decision to demolish in last October, after a review of options for the six blocks, which were built in 1953.
With major structural work and internal improvements required, as well as issues with disability access, lifts, and lack of parking spaces, the 72 flats would have needed around £7m spent on them to bring them up to modern standards.
Coun Jim Foreman, lead member for housing and transport at South Tyneside Council, said: “The council is committed to providing high quality homes, and Farding Square is no longer able to meet people’s expectations for modern living.
“Right across the borough we are investing in new and better housing, and the past year has seen work start on 250 new homes.
“With a new council-backed housing venture company also getting under way, we are seeing real progress in building the quality new homes South Tyneside needs.”
Plans for new homes to replace the Farding Square blocks are being developed.
Nearby Farding Lake Court Housing Plus scheme, for older people, is unaffected by the changes.
Local councillor Tracey Dixon added: “Having grown up nearby, I have fond memories of playing in and around Farding Square as a child, but time has moved on.
“Marsden is a lovely area, and a carefully planned development of new family homes can help to give the area a real boost.”
The scheme is the latest in a series of housing and regeneration projects in South Tyneside.
Recent housing developments have been completed in Hebburn, Biddick Hall and Whitburn. Other schemes are under way at Cleadon Park, Boldon Colliery and High View in Hebburn, with more than 80 new family homes also earmarked as part of the renewal of Hebburn town centre.