Long-awaited plans to demolish and replace two blocks of flats in Bullbrook have been given the go-ahead, two years after previous tenants were moved out.

Housing association Silva Homes wants to demolish the two blocks of social housing flats at Barn Close, near Bay Drive in Bracknell.

Tenants were moved out of the 24, two-bedroom flats in January 2022, with Silva Homes saying it would be too expensive to maintain the buildings.

The buildings will be replaced by two new three-storey blocks of 25 flats, made up of 15 one-bed and 10 two-bed homes. Most of them – 19 – will be socially rented with the remaining six intended for shared ownership.

READ MORE: Silva Homes says it will spend more than £500 million on repairs

The vacant blocks were built in the early 1970s using a building method called Reema, but have since developed problems with their insulation.

Reema was designed to speed up the construction of new homes after the second world war, using pre-fabricated concrete panels. But the nature of the construction – often without wall cavities – meant that heating the buildings can be expensive and difficult without external insulation.

A survey of the Barn Close flats in 2018 found that their external insulation was in poor condition. Silva Homes said that extensive repairs would have to take place to the larger block, and that the smaller block is affected by subsidence.

The housing association decided the best option was to demolish both blocks and build new ones. It consulted residents in 2019, and all tenants were permanently relocated to other Silva Homes properties in January 2022.

Some 22 garages out of 24 are also to be demolished, which are either being rented by existing Silva Homes tenants who have been rehomed, or people living elsewhere in Bracknell. The two not being demolished are privately owned.

Silva Homes says the garages are mostly used for storage, so this will not mean a loss of parking spaces. The plans include spaces for 28 cars – 25 for residents and three for guests.

READ MORE: Silva Homes tenants ‘sleeping fully clothed’ after insulation removed

Bracknell Forest Council granted the scheme planning permission on December 20.

The approval comes after Silva Homes told the News that it plans to have spent more than £520 million on refurbishment and repairs between 2008 – when it was formed – and 2038.

Silva Homes was formed in 2008 after Bracknell Forest Council decided to transfer its council houses to a housing association, claiming it couldn’t afford repairs itself.

But the housing association admitted last year that it has “fallen short” on carrying out repairs, with tenants complaining of long delays to urgently-needed work.