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Daily Record
Daily Record
Mark McGivern

Calls for probe after 40 evacuated from "dangerous" Scots flats

Homlessness campaigners are demanding an investigation into the evacuation of 40 Africans from a dangerous “building site” blocks of flats.

The Record told yesterday how families, mainly from Nigeria, were renting flats in a Glasgow development that did not have appropriate building warrants.

Flats were being let for around £600 a month by banned company director Liberty Durant.

Horrified residents were living among builders’ tools while electricity was supplied via generators that were brought on to the site in Fielden Street.

The Positive Action in Housing charity, was called in to represent 11 affected families, who were left homeless.

A sppkesperson for the group said: “This was amongst the worst cases we have seen of large numbers of highly vulnerable people, too frightened to speak up for their rights or identify themselves.

“We are demanding an investigation to find out who is responsible for putting people in these conditions. It’s in the public interest that this is properly investigated.

“We are continuing to assist some of the families as well as arranging hosting through our Room for Refugees programme.”

The spokesperson added: “Our Homelessness caseworkers were shocked at the conditions people were living in.

“Basically it was a building site too dangerous for any child or adult to be living there. We have been told there were gaping holes in the top floors.

"The people affected were on a limited income and because of the housing shortage, thought they were being helped because they weren’t being charged a deposit.”

Some of the residents are still seeking stable accommodation, two months after an emergency evacuation in March.

The Health and safety Executive was called to the site after the alarm was raised and all work there was halted.

A spokesperson said: “HSE is aware that residents from both blocks of flats were evacuated on a voluntary basis.

“HSE has taken action with the client for the development and the construction site is currently closed.”

Rent for flats was being paid direct to Durant who is banned from having a management role in any company.

The 74-year-old, who drives a Rolls Royce, was banned from being a company director in 2011.

Durant was given another 10-year directorship ban and a suspended prison sentence in 2018 for carrying out a £700,000 fraud while already banned from being a company director.

Lincoln Crown Court heard investigators caught Durant plotting to put his assets out of the reach of creditors.

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “We are using the legislative powers we do have to address the absence of planning consent and building warrants - meaning nobody can occupy the site until we are satisfied it is safe.”

Police Scotland have been asked to comment.


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