Gas blast res­i­dents mov­ing back in

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Kristina Cur­tis

A block of maisonettes in Ash­ford has been re­built, more than two years af­ter they were de­stroyed in a gas ex­plo­sion.

Eight coun­cil-owned homes were de­stroyed af­ter the ex­plo­sion and fire spread through the prop­er­ties in Oak Tree Road, South Ash­ford, on June 15, 2015.

No one was se­ri­ously in­jured in the fire. How­ever, one res­i­dent was treated in hos­pi­tal for burns and 10 peo­ple were made home­less.

The emer­gency ser­vices and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties had to en­sure peo­ple in the area were safe and had shel­ter, as well as mak­ing sure the build­ing was se­cure. Work was also done to re­cover and store as many of the res­i­dents’ pos­ses­sions as pos­si­ble.

Now, the maisonettes are once again hab­it­able and Ash­ford bor­ough coun­cil­lors and of­fi­cers, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the con­trac­tors who have been in­volved in the re­con­struc­tion, have planted a tree to mark the end of the project.

Eight one-bed­room flats, of a sim­i­lar design to the former prop­er­ties, have re­placed the de­stroyed ones.

The flats on the first floor, as well as the roof, have been com­pletely re­newed, while the ground floor flats have been re­fur­bished.

Tracey Robin­son, a res­i­dent in one of the orig­i­nal maisonettes, has re­turned to Oak Tree Road, she said: “Though I lost a lot of pos­ses­sions, some of which are ir­re­place­able, I wanted to come back here.

“It is to­tally dif­fer­ent to how it was be­fore and I like the larger liv­ing room. I’ve met all of my new neigh­bours and ev­ery­one seems lovely.”

Cllr Ger­ald White, Ash­ford Bor- ough Coun­cil’s port­fo­lio holder for hous­ing, said: “I am pleased that we are now at a point where the fi­nal chap­ter can be writ­ten in this most un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent.

“Once again, we thank nearby res­i­dents for their pa­tience and sup­port dur­ing the last two years and trust that the new ten­ants of these homes will en­joy liv­ing in this com­mu­nity.”

Pic­ture:Paul Amos FM3870695

The gas ex­plo­sion and sub­se­quent fire de­stroyed eight prop­er­ties two years ago; Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil deputy port­fo­lio holder for hous­ing, Cllr Aline Hicks, puts the fin­ish­ing touches to the tree plant­ing af­ter the maisonettes were re­built

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