RESIDENTS of a Bradford care complex part-gutted by fire last month should be able to return home by December if re-building work goes to plan.

The blaze at Dove Court, in Undercliffe, caused part of the roof to collapse and led to all 40 flats on the site being evacuated last month.

Hanover Housing, which manages the complex on behalf of Bradford Council, said it was now in the last stage of drying out the building, with builders due to take over the site on August 4 to start detailed restoration work.

Temporary scaffolding erected to protect the building will soon be replaced with new scaffolding for a tin or fibreglass sheet roof that can be removed in sections to allow delivery of trusses and other items.

All properties on the building's second floor will be fully or partially re-decorated, during which time all resident's personal effects and furniture will be placed in off-site storage.

A spokesman for Hanover said representatives had made regular visits to people housed in temporary accommodation across the district and informed them that once work begins, the project was likely to take up to 18 weeks.

"We know this has been very difficult for residents and everyone is very keen to come home, but we now understand that it will be a further 18 weeks or so before the building will be ready," said the spokesman.

"Meanwhile we are doing all we can to keep people in touch, and we are also very grateful for the superb ongoing support from the NHS, social services and numerous other partners in Bradford."

The fire, on June 2, is believed to have been started by a fault in an electrical intake cupboard. As well as partially destroying the roof, it damaged the building's lift and also caused water and smoke damage.

About 70 firefighters from 15 crews across Bradford tackled the blaze, with paramedics also on standby as people were taken to Hillside Bridge Health Centre to be checked over, although no residents or staff were injured in the incident.

Residents are continuing to pay their rent and service charges for Dove Court, with Hanover paying temporary accommodation fees directly to the alternative care homes being used.

Some residents have now been transferred into another of Hanover's extra care properties, designed to allow people to live independently but with a dedicated on-site care team, at Woodside Court in Bradford, ahead of returning to Dove Court.