A NEW apartment block has risen like a phoenix from the ashes after the previous flats had to be demolished following a petrol-fuelled explosion started by a former tenant.
The affected block in Hoole Lane, Boughton, was pulled down, along with an adjacent block to make way for a £1.55m apartment complex by owners Chester & District Housing Trust.
Sidney Thomas, 65, who admitted arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered, was detained at a psychiatric hospital for an unlimited period.
If ever released from hospital, Thomas faces the prospect of being recalled to prison after being released on licence from a life sentence for murdering his first wife 40 years ago.
Judge Elgan Edwards, Recorder of Chester, told Chester Crown Court it was ‘a miracle’ nobody was killed in the early-hours explosion in July 2009.
Now open to tenants, Brindley Place features eight two-bedroomed and eight one-bedroomed flats all to let at affordable rents.
The scheme will help the regeneration of the area, which is earmarked for a new business quarter, Waitrose supermarket and residential scheme backed by CDHT at the shot tower.
Dave Soothill, regional director development and asset management at CDHT, said the project had been made possible through a grant and a small amount of insurance money relating to the fire.
He said: “We wanted to provide better accommodation for our tenants with fuel efficient properties and good space standards. It will be a nice apartment block to live in.”
Funding for the building came from a combination of the insurance claim, CDHT money and a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency. Construction took eight months.