RESIDENTS at a block of flats in Tillicoultry had to be evacuated earlier this week after traces of a controversial crumbly concrete were identified.

The occupants of the building containing flats 75-97 Chapelle Crescent were told they could no longer reside in the premises on Tuesday, September 25.

Tenants were urged to pack as much as they could and were moved out, with no indication of how long they would be away, or when they could return.

Lauren Bartlett was told she had to leave her flat without prior notice, packing what she could for herself and her two kids before being placed in homeless accommodation in Alloa.

Speaking to the Advertiser, she said: “I had a phone call from Clackmannanshire Council at 5pm to tell me the building wasn’t safe and I was to get my children and I out of the building as soon as possible.

“They told me to pack as much as I could physically take with me and they supplied a council van to help me carry larger items.

“We’ve been moved to homeless accommodation in Alloa. I don’t drive and my son goes to nursery in Tillicoultry, so I’m not sure what I’ll do.

“I was told initially that we would be able to move back in after seven days but someone else then told me that it was so severe that we wouldn’t be allowed back in at all.  I’m not sure what to believe.

“My eldest is quite distressed by the ordeal, he wants to go home and I’m trying to explain to him that we can’t go home just yet."

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is a cheaper form of traditional concrete and was commonly used in British buildings from the 1950s to the mid-1990s.

It is estimated that it has a life expectancy of little more than 30 years and is prone to collapse when wet.

If RAAC is found in buildings, owners can hire a structural engineer to carry out remedial works, such as adding timber or lightweight structures to support the panels.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: SURVEY: Clacks Council evacuated the block after finding issues with the concreteSURVEY: Clacks Council evacuated the block after finding issues with the concrete

Lauren added: “The council only came out to move us because a private tenant in the building paid £200-£300 for a private inspection of the concrete and they reported back to the council that it was unsafe.

“The ceiling on the top floor was dangerous – parts of the concrete would fall from the ceiling when it was raining.”

Checks for RAAC were carried out in schools across the country, after more than 100 schools in England were forced to close.

A spokesperson for Clackmannanshire Council said: “The safety of tenants and residents is our priority.

“RAAC surveys on the building at 75-97 Chapelle Crescent in Tillicoultry have identified potential safety issues with the condition of the concrete.

“As a precaution, all occupants of this building have been supported and provided with alternative accommodation as a matter of urgency, while further investigations are carried out and the buildings made secure.

“Further detailed investigations are being undertaken and these results will determine the next steps.

“While this is ongoing, we will continue to support residents and keep them updated.

“Visual inspections on other blocks in Chapelle Crescent have so far not identified the same issues; however, inspections are continuing and we will continue to support residents and keep them updated.

“We are continuing to investigate our housing stock to identify any issues and will take appropriate actions where this is necessary in discussion with residents.”