West Lancashire £15.5m housing investment

Monday March 4th, 2013

Government Opportunities (GO)Thousands of tenants are set to reap the benefits of West Lancashire Borough Council’s biggest ever 12-month investment programme in its housing stock.

The Council agreed a budget of £15.5m to spend on improving tenants’ homes, which will bring improvements to more than half the Council’s 6,200 properties.

Major refurbishment schemes planned are replacing kitchens in 1,400 homes and bathrooms in 1,300 homes. Outer security doors will be upgraded on blocks of flats, which will cost £862,000 and benefit 423 tenants.

New doors will be fitted to Council houses to help improve security and energy efficiency as part of a replacement doors and windows programme worth about £945,000. The Council will also invest £877,000 in improving the energy efficiency of heating systems for tenants.

These works are part of a £55m investment plan for Council homes over five years.

The Council is working on creating a new £4m Revival scheme similar to that started on Firbeck last year. The details of this will be discussed with tenants before a particular area is selected.

The Council is planning to spend £3.7 million on homes in Firbeck in the next 12 months as part of the Revival scheme it launched last year. The estate will be the first to receive new kitchens and bathrooms as part of the new programme. Selected flats on the estate are to be demolished and areas of the estate are to benefit from the building of new homes. The Council has been working with tenants and homeowners in the flats that are to be demolished to find them suitable alternative accommodation.

Other budget decisions include:

•400,000 to be allocated to upgrade the call monitoring system for people living in sheltered accommodation to help improve security.

•An increase of £250,000 in the day to day repair budget.

•£150,000 over the next three years for tenant-led environment schemes.

•No increases in district heating charges or garage rentals.

•Introduction of mobile working to place officers at the heart of their community and help deliver services more effectively.

•An increase in the Void Budget to ensure that empty homes are brought up to the relet standard and brought back into rental appropriately.

Money for the improvements has come through changes in the way council housing is financed which came into force in 2012.

The Council is supporting tenants through changes which mean housing benefit should only pay an amount equal to a house size that a family needs. A financial inclusion officer and two temporary staff are being employed to help tenants examine what options are available to them.

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