NEIGHBOURS who have been friends for over a decade warned their housing association not to split them up after the news two tower blocks could be demolished.

Ellen Smith, 85 and Vivienne Baird, 51, have lived next door to each other in a block in Caledonia Road since 2008 and would be devastated if they were separated.

Glasgow Times:

The New Gorbals Housing Association informed residents on Tuesday that, due to an issue with cladding installed in 1996, the flats would either need to be extensively refurbished, causing residents a huge amount of disruption, or the towers would have to be demolished and the residents rehoused.

Ellen has lived in the tower block for around 50 years raising her family in the high rise apartment and was on the committee of Scottish Homes, the blocks’ former owners. 

Glasgow Times:

She said: “I was over 33 years in the flats that came down and I’m over 20 years here. I love it here. 

Glasgow Times:

“I will be very sad to see them go and there will be a lot of other people who will feel the same.”

Vivienne moved in 12 years ago and the pair have been fast friends since. The 52-year-old said: “I’m quite happy with them coming down, the housing said it was a fire hazard so we need to feel safe.

Glasgow Times:

“I will miss it though, I had a wee tear in my eye when I got the letter.

“I wouldn’t move out the area no, it’s a great community.”

Vivienne said Ellen told her when she heard the news: “I don’t want to move unless we can stay together.”

She helps her elderly neighbour to get her shopping and the two share a close bond. 

Glasgow Times:

“We’ll stick together, I told her. They won’t split us up I promise,” she said. 

The residents, who take up more 276 flats in the 55-year old blocks will be surveyed on the proposal to tear down the scheme.

William Ross has lived in Caledonia Road for 20 years and prefers high-rise living to the temptation of a new build home. 

Glasgow Times:

The 61-year-old said: “I’m just used to living here, I like it. 

“The house I’m staying in here was my dad’s before I moved in.”

And some of the towers’ neighbours will be sad if they no longer live in the shadow of the twin giants.Glasgow Times:

Jacqueline Walker, who was born 14 storeys high in 1968 now lives across the road in a new-build house. 

She was emotional about the possibility the place she grew up and remembers fondly could be torn down.

“It’s just all those memories,” she said. 

Another resident - who did not wish to be named - said she would be glad to see the blocks gone. 

Glasgow Times:

“I have my daughter and I want her to be able to go out and play and have a back garden,” she said. 

“I’ve had loads of problems with my flat over the years and I want a new home.”

The flats were recladded and retro-fitted in between 1994-1996 at an estimated cost of over £4 million.

Glasgow Times:

In 2003, the current landlords extensively modernised the interiors of the flats, which cost them £2.8m. 

Fraser Stewart, the director of New Gorbals Housing Association, suggested tenants who wished to stay close to one another would have this taken into account when they were rehoused. 

Glasgow Times:

He said: “We are very conscious of the fact that many tenants have developed strong bonds and friendships and we will be doing everything we reasonably can to move households in close proximity to each other where that is requested. 

Glasgow Times:

“We have some tenants who have happily lived in the blocks for over 55 years, and we know that some tenants will be extremely distressed at the prospect of being rehoused. 

“We completely understand that and we intend to respond to tenants’ needs and circumstances as positively and helpfully as we can”.