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9,000 Birmingham council houses to benefit from £58m refurbishment

9,000 Birmingham council houses to benefit from £58m refurbishment

🕔17.Jun 2013

Tenants of 9,000 dilapidated Birmingham council flats and houses are to get some rare good news.

Their properties will be chosen to benefit from a £58 million refurbishment scheme.

In a rare example of local government increasing expenditure in the current gloomy economic climate, the city council is to carry out much needed improvements to almost 15 per cent of its housing stock bringing to a total of £87 million the amount spent on improving homes this year.

Most of the programme will be paid for by housing rents and reserves rather than borrowing.

About 9,000 homes will get new kitchens and bathrooms, upgraded central heating systems, door and roof replacements and structural works.

The council spent around £800 million between 2004 and 2010 bringing its residential properties up to the Decent Homes Standard and has also begun building new homes for the first time in decades

Deputy council leader Ian Ward said: “We currently own and manage 64,000 residential properties and we have already made considerable headway with improving them.

“The new investment programme earmarked for 2013-14 will target 9,000 properties for further improvement, reducing carbon emissions and lowering tenants’ fuel bills.”

A full business case for the housing investment programme is expected to be approved at the next council cabinet meeting.

Strategic Director of Local Services Sharon Lea said her aim was to secure a high quality of life for residents. She added in a report to the cabinet: “Stock improvements will impact upon the other strategic outcomes, most notably on the aspiration for healthier communities.

“The replacement of existing older heating systems with new condensing boilers, external insulation provision, cavity wall and loft insulation and any other energy efficiency works will contribute to targets within the council’s Climate Change Strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fuel poverty.”

However, with an average age of 70 years per dwelling, the council admits that it will take a long time to bring all properties up to modern standards.

The cabinet report adds: “The annual programme for 2013/14 forms a part of a continued programme of investment in council housing in Birmingham, which has been under way for many years and that is expected to continue for as long as the council retains ownership of council housing.

“It is inevitable that there is an extremely high demand for capital works to the properties, to such an extent that it would not be possible to address all needs in any single year, either from an affordability or a delivery perspective.

“For each annual investment programme, it is therefore important that the properties to benefit from investment are prioritised to ensure maximum benefit across the city.”

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