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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

"Stop the RAAC": Protestors Demonstrate outside Town House

Homeowners have called on the council to pay for the costs of repairing roofs constructed with 'lightweight' concrete

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Photo Credit: Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Several dozen homeowners gathered outside Marischal College on Thursday morning, protesting against Aberdeen City Council's handling of the RAAC concrete crisis.

Shouting “Stop the RAAC, don’t let it crack” whilst holding brightly coloured placards, the group called on the council to provide additional support for affected homeowners.

RAAC, a construction material used between the 1950s and 1990s, is less durable and more susceptible to water damage than other forms of concrete. Hundreds of council tenants in Aberdeen’s Balnagask neighbourhood have been told they will be relocated from RAAC-affected properties.

However, private owners who purchased their homes from the council have been told they will not receive financial support to repair any damage.

Thursday’s demo was organised by the Torry Community Raac Campaign, which is chaired by Aberdeen Uni law student Hannah Chowdhry. Hannah has been involved in a number of campaigns across the UK and was recently recognised for her work on religious freedom in Pakistan.

Addressing the crowd, the second year student said: “There is an urgent need for comprehensive action to address the systemic issues contributing to the difficulties faced by residents…

“We have explored every avenue available to us… yet the roadblocks remain.

“It is unacceptable for homeowners like myself to bear the brunt of the consequences of the council’s past mistakes.”

One demonstrator, whose elderly brother is a council tenant in a RAAC affected home, told The Gaudie that the council's decision to relocate people was a “land grab.”

“We don't know where [my brother] is going to go,” she said, adding that the potential demolition of more than three hundred affected properties would devastate the area’s shops and have negative effects for local children. 

After the demonstration ended, protestors gathered inside the Town House to listen in to a meeting of the Communities, Housing, and Public Protection Committee.

Speaking to The Gaudie on Friday afternoon, Wilson Chowdhry, Hannah’s father and a member of the campaign team, expressed optimism about the previous day’s protest. 

He said: “There is now a significant opportunity for all Council Tenants affected by relocation, as they will be given priority to return to their original homes once they are repaired, should the Council decide against demolition. 

“Additionally, they will also have the first choice to move into any new properties in the area should demolition be the chosen path. This ensures that those who [are] deeply connected to the local community can retain their links, undoubtedly contributing to the social well-being of many.”

Mr Chowdhry also told The Gaudie that the council has instructed Housing and Finance officers to search for available funding to assist private owners with repair costs.

“A report will be presented at the next committee meeting, indicating a proactive effort to secure funding. While this isn't a guarantee, it represents a step forward from a complete absolution of responsibility. 

“We can't afford to get too excited at this stage, and we will redouble our efforts behind our campaign."


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