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Woodneuk Court

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being prepared for demolition, september 2007


being prepared for demolition, september 2007


Woodneuk Court is in the centre

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View from West Court

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Woodneuk Court was one of three 15 storey tower blocks in the Millarston scheme of Ferguslie, Paisley. They were located at the edge of Ferguslie Gardens - one of the town's most pleasant parks.

The Millarston East project was approved in 1967 as Paisley struggled to disperse the high desnity of its central population to peripheral estates such as Millarston. Construction on the estate, consisting of three high rises and six rows of 3 storey tenements as well as a high school, was carried out by Wimpey to a design known in-house as the '1006'. A style commonplace in the majority of towns in Scotland and some in England. In Paisley alone, there are three other estates that contain '1006' style Wimpey blocks. This mean that there would be 6 flats on each floor with facilities such as an airing cupboard and garbage bins located on ground level. It was also possible to access the roof although as vandalism increased this privilege was taken away. The 43m tall building was completed the following year along with the rest of the estate.

Initially the building was popular, not least beacause it provided amenties such as indoor toilets, low ceilings and hot running water that were uncommon in the central slums. There was also very little traffic in Millarston East as both Millarston Drive and low rise Millarston Avenue were cul de sacs. The community was fenced in providing a sense of community and the John Neilson High School was also located within the estate. Ferguslie Gardens provided a pleasant space for children to play and adults to walk and there were several small shops nearby although they were limited to newsagents, off-licenses and takeaways.

Being located across the railway line from the troubled Ferguslie Park meant that Woodneuk Court and Millarston suffered a similar decline into poverty. Although being located closer to the town centre, with better transport links, the community still suffered from a lack of shops, with the nearest supermarket being 2 miles away. In 1980s, unemployment also affected the areas popularity as the nearby Rootes Carp Plant closed its doors leaving thousands redundent with little opportunity for local jobs. This, coupled with the housing of problem tenants such as drug dealers and antisocial families in West Court combined to make the building unpopular.

Rising crime rates in the Millarston estate led to frequent spates of vandalism in the building, mostly from teenagers and young adults who did not live there. Only a handful of the 90 flats were occupied at the turn of 2000 as living conditions deteriorated. It was not just the vandals that contributed to this as many tenants complained of damp and heating problems causing mould. Particularly after double glazing was fitted to all the flats in the early 1990s.

In 2001, Renfrewshire Council opted to demolish the entire Millarston East estate in three stages with the demolition of the three multi storey flats to commence in stage 2. West Court was the last to be declared derelict in September 2007 and preparation for demolition was carried out by Reigart from September until December 2007.

The original date set for the blow down was the 3rd February 2008, however complications with the evacuation of nearby properties and the close proximity to the railway line meant this date would be postponed. Demolition was eventually carried out on Sunday 13th July 2008 at 6am to avoid interfering with rail services.

A care home is to be built on the vacant site.

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