‘Counting down the days’ for repairs to run-down homes

RESIDENTS of run-down council homes say they are “counting the days” until desperately needed repairs are carried out, after an �18.6million grant was awarded to the council to bring hundreds of properties up to scratch.

Kitchens, bathrooms and communal areas all in need of urgent repair will be brought up to standard thanks to the Decent Homes money.

The �18.6million grant, to be allocated to the council over the next three years, will see more than 1,600 council homes repaired.

Samantha Brezden, 37, of Heathcote Court, Heathcote Avenue, Clayhall, said her kitchen and bathroom both need repairs.

The block she lives in is due to have work carried out in the next 12 months, while work to its exterior is pencilled in for 2014.

The mum-of-one told the Recorder: “I’ve got to the point where I didn’t think it [the work] would be done, so to hear that it will be is really good. I’m counting down the days.

“It gets you down when you live somewhere that has so many things wrong with it.”

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The grant is less than the �39million the council was hoping to receive in February last year when it was re-inspected by the Audit Commission in its bid to get a two-star rating.

But the council did get a �5million grant for achieving the rating, and since September has completed work on bringing 500 council homes up to Decent Homes standard.

Cllr Robin Turbefield, cabinet member for housing, said: “Like other councils in the programme we will receive less than originally expected, however we are confident we can make improvements to the majority of our properties with the funding confirmed.

“We have a very cost effective contract in place and we are making other efficiencies to make sure we make the most of this funding.”

Caitlin Richards, 33, of Fullwell Parade, Fullwell Avenue, Clayhall, needs repairs to her bathroom.

She said: “I don’t know if it’ll get done or when but if they have this money, it gives me some hope.”