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"We’ve been left in the dark": Student Organises Protest Over RAAC Crisis

Aberdeen law student leads charge to hold council accountable for 'latent defect'

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Photo Credit: Rachel Palmer

Hannah Chowdhry was ‘shocked’ when she learned that the roof of her home, which she purchased in June 2023, contained RAAC, the lightweight concrete at the centre of a nationwide panic.

Hannah’s home is one of more than 500 houses in Torry that have been found to contain the ‘bubbly’ concrete, which is less durable than normal types.

Hannah believes that the fault lies with Aberdeen City Council, who have told approximately 140 affected homeowners that they will not receive financial assistance to fix damaged roofs.

She says that the council has also declined to pay for the inspections of privately owned homes constructed using RAAC, despite some estimates suggesting this would cost £2000.

The second year law student has organised a protest outside of the Town House this Thursday. The rally will take place ahead of a meeting of the Housing Committee at 10 AM, where Hannah will give a deputation.

While £3 million has been set aside to relocate the occupants of buildings which are currently owned by the council, “nothing has been said to private homeowners”, Hannah told The Gaudie.

“We’ve been left in the dark,” she explained. “I want the council to take some accountability for selling these houses with this latent defect.” 

“I want the council to pay for our roofs,” Hannah said, telling The Gaudie that repairs could cost up to twenty thousand pounds. 

She noted that many of her neighbours aren’t able to afford such costs, and fears this could result in a mass exodus of people from the neighbourhood. 

“We don’t want to be run out of the area," she said. “We don’t want to leave.”

Hannah has encouraged all Aberdeen students to come to the protest, which will take place at 9 AM, and to sign a petition calling on the council to provide support for affected homeowners. 

However, the cash-strapped local authority finds itself in a perilous position.

On Friday, the Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack said the UK Government would not provide funds to replace the concrete, telling the Press and Journal: “I think it’s for the local authority and the Scottish Government to deal with it because they have record funding.”

“The local authorities may not feel that way – and particularly with the council tax freeze – but the reality is the Scottish Government does have record funding.”

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government confirmed that no additional funding would be given to councils to deal with the issue.

Aberdeen City Council was approached for comment.

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