£20m homes revamp on way

RESIDENTS are set to benefit from a £20m home improvement package after funding was secured by housing chiefs.

East Durham Homes (EDH) has announced plans to spend £19.9m on its property improvement plan for 2011-2012, meaning around 1,000 further properties will be brought up-to-date.

The money will be spent to continue to bring homes in the former Easington district up to “decent homes” standard.

The cash includes £13m from the Government’s decent homes backlog funding programme, which was established through the Government’s Spending Review for 2011-2015. It also includes £6.5m from Durham County Council, which despite the authority having to save £112m over the next four years, was ring-fenced as part of the housing revenue account.

The £19.9m will mean East Durham Homes can meet its priority of maximising the number of homes made decent.

Durham County Council made a bid for backlog funding from the Government in January 2011.

The authority received an allocation of £69,886,219 for decent homes backlog funding for the next four years, which will be split between East Durham Homes and Dale and Valley Homes.

Due to the current levels on non-decency in East Durham, the majority of the funding will be allocated to East Durham Homes.

This funding will bring around 950 homes across east Durham up to the decent homes standard this year, and will also provide funding to make adaptations for disabled or older customers.

David Hodgson, East Durham Homes decent homes manager, said: “The property improvement programme represents a significant amount of investment in our customers’ homes.

“We have made a total of 1,850 homes decent so far and this programme will allow us to bring a further 950 properties up to the decent homes standard this year, further reducing the number of non-decent properties in the area.”

The decent homes work includes double-glazed windows and doors, new bathrooms and kitchens and rewiring and heating upgrades.

East Durham Homes has recently completed its window and door programme which means double glazed windows and doors have been fitted in about 8,500 council-owned houses in east Durham.

Glyn Hall, the council’s head of housing, said: “Although this is not the full amount of money we had asked for from the Government, we are delighted that we are able to go ahead with a major improvement programme.

“It will enable us to invest in hundreds of homes in East Durham and protect a significant number of jobs as well.”

The total nationwide funding made available through the Government’s backlog fund was £1.6bn and the aim is to deliver an estimated 150,000 refurbished UK homes by 2015.