£102 million housing improvements for Birmingham tenants

By on 04/03/2010 in News

Cabinet is set to approve a £102 million budget for investment in council properties this year (2010/11) at its meeting on 8 March 2010, contributing to a better quality of life for citizens.

Since 2004, the council has invested £673 million of its own money to carry out the decent homes programme, making improvement to 50,000 properties.

Birmingham is one of the few local authorities on track to meet the government's target for 95% decent homes by 2010, despite a report by the Audit Commission predicting that nationally it would be “all but impossible” for all local authorities and housing associations to meet this target.

Two satisfied tenants are Walter and Kathleen Cheshire from Woodgate Valley who received new doors, new guttering, uPVC double glazed windows, insulation work and new central heating in their 3 bedroom home.

Mr Cheshire said, “The central heating is brilliant. We both have breathing difficulties but the new heating system has improved our health. The workmen did a great job and kept everything tidy.”

Tenants have been instrumental in setting priorities for the works which include cavity wall, loft, roof and external wall insulation. The additional insulation will improve thermal efficiency for homes, helping the council to reduce CO2 emissions to create a greener, cleaner Birmingham.

As part of the council's drive to tackle fuel poverty more council homes will be installed with energy efficient central heating and double glazed windows.

Improving security is also a high priority and all homes will benefit from Secured by Design front doors and windows. The replacement of timber fascias and soffits with pvc materials, the re-roofing of some properties and the execution of other associated works will help to reduce future maintenance costs.

£47 million of the budget will help achieve warm, weatherproof homes with reasonably modern facilities. Over 3000 homes will benefit during the course of the year as part of the council's plans to ensure all council homes meet the government's decent homes standard.

Councillor John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “Birmingham's tenants chose to keep the council as their landlord in April 2002, when less than 30 per cent of our stock was decent. When I became cabinet member for housing in June 2004, I was obliged to find a way to deliver decent homes from the council's own resources.

“We have made excellent progress, despite the inadequate and inequitable government financial support. The level of decency has increased steadily, from 34 per cent in April 2004, to 90 per cent by March 2009. We will exceed the 95 per cent national target this year.

“We have always recognised that this investment is crucial to the health and well-being of our citizens, who deserve to live in decent homes. I am confident that warm, energy efficient, modern homes will vastly improve the quality of life of our tenants and better homes mean healthier, thriving communities.”

Customer satisfaction levels continue to exceed 95% for decent homes work, with customers participating in design team meetings, procurement of materials and any special needs indentified prior to works commencing on site are incorporated into the customer's schedule of works.

The council will also continue to fit new kitchens and bathrooms as part of its decent homes plus programme. Properties with kitchens that are more than 20 years old and bathroom are more than 30 years old will be modernised, once the main decent homes programme has been delivered.

For images of properties ‘before and after’ decent homes work has been carried out visit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157623428441027/

Ends

Notes to editor
1. The Audit Commissions report 'Building better lives, Getting the best from strategic housing'
was published in September 2009. For full report visit:
http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/nationalstudies/localgov/buildingbetterlives/Pages/buildingbetterlives.aspx#downloads
2. Cllr Lines is a columnist for Inside Housing. For his full column on achieving decent homes for Birmingham against all odds, visit: http://birminghamnewsroom.com/?p=6876
3. Established in 1989, Secured by Design (SBD) is owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and is the corporate title for a group of national police projects focusing on the design and security for new & refurbished homes, commercial premises and car parks as well as the acknowledgement of quality security products and crime prevention projects. Website: http://www.securedbydesign.com/index.aspx

Further information from Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969

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  1. Frankie says:

    Interesting article – I really liked the picture gallery.

    It threw up a few questions, namely why on earth did the tenants allow their kitchens and bathrooms become so squalid?

    It is a pity the council is having to spend money putting these things right, when the funds could be used to build new homes instead of doing up existing ones.

  2. michael fish says:

    re comments from above (frankie)
    while i understand where this man is coming from as some tenants do allow there homes to fall into a total mess however if this gentleman had been a council tenant he would see how hard it is to get some (not all) repairs fixed i have lived at my present address for a little over 4 years 1 of my cupboard doors (kitchen)has come off its hinges at least 6 or 7 times ive had a workman out to try and repair this an he has literally drilled a hole thru the cupboard so the sharp ends of the screws are poking out also flooring in communal areas tiles were only down 2 days before they started coming back up 3 more times this was supposed to have been remedied and each and every workman stated that the tiles were the wrong type and the glue was useless but was what they had been told to use i think before passing comment on people allowing there kitchens to get in to that state u should really see things how the real world works

  3. Matthew Hall says:

    Both of you have very good points, some people do let their properties get in a real state and for those people i think repairs should not be considered viable. However ! Like you Mr Fish, i have been in my property a few years and requested repairs that im yet to see completed to a descent standard. The previous occupant was an elderly lady with mobility problems, so upkeep was obviously and quite understandably not top of the adjenda. We were left with rotting fences, corroded brick work, rotten drains and around 2 tons of brick and stone in the back garden that has never been looked at, a warped front door that must be deadlocked in order to close and the interior door frames are so warped that we had to buy extra large doors just so the we could plain them at an angle to fit.
    Despite calls to the council to rectify these problems im yet to see any of these repairs carried out. weve had estimators out on several occasions and are yet to see a satisfactory repair.
    Last week i dug a section of garden (turned the soil) with the intention of putting some plants down. But i was stopped in my tracks when a 6 foot fence that is 15 feet long decided to fall on me ! This has been reported to the council as an emergency repair……….. so in 6 weeks they will send someone round to INVESTIGATE.
    Birmingham city council are shockingly poor at what they do, if they cant repair a fence that is vital ( because our Autistic son cannot go outside uless an enclosed fence is around ) then really what can they do ?

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