Housing group to spend £21million improving crumbling homes

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A HOUSING group is to spend £21million on improving 1,500 homes.

East Durham Homes (EDH), which covers areas including Seaham, Peterlee, Horden and Blackhall, is aiming to have halved the number of crumbling homes in its stock within the next year.

It has spent £17million bringing about 1,160 houses up to decent-homes standard during the last financial year and is now looking to spend another £21million during the next 12 months.

The group aims to cut its number of non-decent homes to below 50 per cent in that time, ensuring properties are warm, in a good state of repair with modern facilities.

EDH was allocated £116.4million from the Government over a four-year period when it achieved its two-star status in 2009 after an inspection by the Audit Commission.

It had hoped for a large slice of the cash to be freed up and allow it to push on with the work – with 90 per cent of its 8,551 homes at that stage failing to meet the decent standard.

But it was told it would get reduced allocations as funds were needed to build new houses elsewhere in the country.

It is still due to receive £70million in “backlog funding”.

Of the total £29million set aside for improvements from the landlord’s budget this year, £21million is to be put towards decent homes, with £12million of that from the backlog cash owed by the Homes and Communities Agency.

EDH will spend £2.5million on heating improvements as it phases out old systems and replaces solid fuel with gas, and £750,000 on aids and adaptations to make life easier for those in need of extra facilities in their homes.

Michael Doyle, director of neighbourhood services for EDH, said: “We are delighted with the level of investment delivered to the stock last year, with over £23million invested.

“Next year will see even greater improvements in the stock, with a further £29million being invested through the financial year. This will result in a further 1,500 homes being made decent over the next 12 months, whilst at the same time addressing fuel poverty for our customers.”

By the end of the month, the group expects to have completed work on more than 250 houses in Seaham, 450-plus in Peterlee and about 100 in Horden and Blackhall.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham