Multimillion-pound housing improvement scheme gets started

Work to replace a kitchen.
Work to replace a kitchen.
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Work to maintain and improve council homes in the Alnwick and Blyth areas, as part of a £39million investment scheme, is now under way.

The Northumberland County Council housing capital works programme will see almost £8million spent every year, for the next five years, to carry out major planned improvements to council-owned homes.

This year, 1,700 homes across the Blyth and Alnwick areas will benefit from new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems and the replacement of roofs, doors and windows and electrical rewires.

Tenants whose homes are included in this year’s work programme have been informed of the council's plans and have been invited to attend exhibitions to choose their new kitchen and bathroom suites.

The investment also includes planned capital work needed at sheltered accommodation units, such as lift repairs or upgrades to commercial boilers. Environmental work, both area based initiatives and individual schemes, such as the provision of parking bays within housing plots, to eliminate parking problems on narrow roads, is also part of the scheme.

The rolling programme of work ensures that properties meet the Decent Homes standard, with government guidance suggesting kitchens to be replaced every 20 years, bathrooms every 30 years and roofs every 60 years.

Philip Soderquest, head of housing at Northumberland County Council, said: "Everyone is entitled to live in a decent home and this ongoing investment in our homes ensures we are providing this for our residents.

"Our tenants are able to choose the kitchen or bathroom of their liking and are kept informed throughout the process. We have found in previous years that improvement works to people's homes has a positive impact on the community as a whole. If people live in a home they can be proud of, they tend to take more care of the estates and areas in which they live."