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Era ends as tower blocks are demolished

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Two Walsall tower blocks heralded as the future of town centre living after they were built in the 1960s are being demolished.

Two Walsall tower blocks heralded as the future of town centre living after they were built in the 1960s are being demolished.

Booth House and O'Hare House, The Butts, have long been landmarks on the skyline of the town.

But for the last two-years they have sat derelict and boarded up with residents desperately calling for their demolition.

Their prayers were answered as Walsall Housing Group (whg) gave the greenlight for Armoury Demolition to move on site with its monster 'nibbler' machine and start dragging the flats down.

Residents and shoppers were stopping to watch the 200-ft machine get to work ripping the 13-storey flats down.

Some motorists even pulled up to see what will mark an end of an era in Walsall.

Whg spokesman Tracy Ironmonger said: "It is too dangerous to demolish them in one go with explosives because they are too close to residential properties in the middle of the town.

"This process will take a matter of weeks." The land is to be 'landbanked', which means it could sit derelict for months until a use is found for it.

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She added: "The land has not been designated for anything at the moment."

The properties in Teddesley Street were built in 1969.

Both tower blocks were plagued by problems in the years leading up to them being closed.

Complaints included hypo- dermic needles being left on the floor and people urinating in hallways, while in 2005 it was revealed that an 18-month-old girl was having to undergo regular HIV tests after stepping on a discarded syringe.

It is the latest tower block demolition planned in Walsall. Other buildings to go include Ball and Leadbeater House, off Bloxwich High Street, and a number of buildings in Pleck have disappeared for the £20 million Oxford Place development.

Whg also announced last week how eyesore flats that have been a blot on the landscape of Brownhills for years are to be pulled down. Whg confirmed the news concerning the dilapidated three four-storey 1960s maisonettes in Deakin Avenue and Watlin Road. Fencing is due to be put up around the Deakin Avenue over the next month and the flats condemned. The news has come as a welcome relief to those in the area who have been campaigning for their demolition.

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