50 houses lined up for demolition as council estate is given revamp

MORE than 50 homes in Blyth are set to demolished as part of plans to bring an estate up to scratch.

Houses on the Hodgsons Road estate will either be brought up to the Decent Homes standard set by the government or knocked down if the improvements needed are not viable.

The demolition plans were agreed at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s executive meeting at Morpeth’s County Hall on Monday.

The homes facing either a revamp or a wrecking ball are the only ones left in the council’s ownership that fall below the standard required.

All but two of the residents of the houses in line for demolition have been informed, and most of those involved are happy about the plans, the meeting heard.

Coun Tom Brechany, the council’s executive member responsible for housing, said: “We have looked very carefully at the best way to achieve improvements in the homes and environment at the Hodgsons Road estate in the light of the most up-to-date conditions, both nationally and locally.

“We have concluded some aspects of previous plans are no longer the best way to meet these priorities and could not now be achieved at an economical cost.”

The estate currently consists of 295 houses, 26 of them one-bedroom bungalows, 122 two-bedroom houses and 147 three-bedroom houses.

The homes to be bulldozed are in Millfield Gardens, Willow Avenue and Chestnut Avenue.

According to the report to the council, the general environment of the estate is of poor quality, though the style is not dissimilar to other council estates nearby.

In 2009, Blyth Valley Borough Council identified high levels of poverty on the estate, with 75 per cent of its residents on gross incomes of less than £20,000.

The council plans to spend £4.8m on rewiring those homes not to be demolished, as well as replacing roofs, doors, windows and central heating systems.

It also plans to replace bathrooms and kitchens in 143 homes and make changes to interior walls in 41 houses.

Further internal alterations to 148 houses and extensions to 50 to replace under-stair bathrooms are expected to cost £2.1m.

Coun Brechany, of Cramlington South East, added: “I want to assure people who I’ve spoken to in the area that this is still a very high priority for the council, and we will be working closely with them, informing and involving them as we move forwards to what I hope will be very positive changes for this and the wider Blyth area.”