Millions awarded to revamp rundown homes

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MORE than £92milllion will be spent sprucing up rundown homes after a huge Government cash injection.

The massive improvement scheme is set to get under way on council-owned homes in County Durham after the money to cover the next two years’ of work was given the go-ahead.

Durham County Council has announced the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has now formalised the £38million pay-out to address a backlog of home improvements.

Together with the authority’s own cash, there will now be more than £92million to spend during the next 24 months.

It will be used to ensure shabby properties flagged up for action are warm, water-tight and have modern facilities.

Council and housing bosses were unable to say how much would be spent on homes rented out by East Durham Homes or Durham City Homes, which both run the social housing as arms’ length management organisations on behalf of the council.

Coun Clive Robson, who holds the portfolio for housing, said: “This is fantastic news for the thousands of people living in our houses, particularly the many families in those houses which still do not meet decent homes standards.

“I am absolutely delighted that we can continue to deliver our huge programme of works transforming our housing stock and improving the lives of so many people significantly.

“When combined with Durham County Council’s own investment programme this is a vast sum of money and it is particularly pleasing that we can move ahead with this in such difficult financial times.

“The investment also supports significant local jobs and training and this is also a vital part of the programme.”

In 2011/12, the council and DCLG backlog funding saw the housing stock get 1,865 new kitchens, 1,850 new bathrooms and 2,667 new heating systems and boiler, with 2,004 of them rewired.

The backlog funding will be awarded in a cash pot of £12million during the 2013/14 financial year and £26.286million the year after.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham