More tenants demanding improvements to homes

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MORE complaints have been made about the lack of regeneration on a Blyth council estate, saying current conditions are inadequate.

Last week, the News Post Leader reported how some residents on the Hodgsons Road estate were angry at Northumberland County Council for the lack of renovation in the properties.

Some have been waiting more than five years for new kitchens, bathrooms or windows, with the council recently revealing that proposed work had been delayed.

Now more residents have complained about the situation, with one couple being given a £1,900 bill for a new kitchen installed in their former council house in Chestnut Avenue after they had moved out.

A family friend said: “They moved into a private property as the council wouldn’t do any work to the house.

“Now the council has fitted a new kitchen and bathroom and billed them for it.”

Another resident, Claire Stewart, of Willow Avenue, claimed the council had ‘broken a number of promises’ with her.

Before she moved in last October, she said she was told the estate would be pulled down within a year and she would be given money to help find new accommodation.

But now the council say there are no plans to transform the estate and she is still waiting for a new kitchen, bathroom and windows.

She said: “The windows at the back of my house are appalling.

“When I call the council out they say they are ok and patch them up.

“One of my windows has been painted five times but it’s still rotten.

“As a result, I now have a woodlice infestation.

“The other day I opened a window and five woodlice dropped off it.”

She added: “I have had to buy cupboards for the kitchen and the sink isn’t even a standard size because the kitchens are not big enough for purpose.

“It seems every six months or so the council sent out another letter fobbing you off, containing another empty promise.

“The people of Hodgsons Road are patient, not stupid.

“When you’ve watched the rest of Blyth have new windows, doors and bathrooms, all the upgrades, to be told there is nothing that can be done now, you have to think the county council has had the money at some point.

“This estate has definitely been left behind.”

Ms Stewart says that as part of her tenancy she could look for a new property from October, but says she enjoys living on the estate and loves her neighbours.

Ian Johnson, interim director of property services at Homes for Northumberland, said: “Homes for Northumberland inform all tenants that they have a responsibility to keep their home in a good condition, as this is an important part of their tenancy agreement.

“Tenants are made aware that they will be charged if they cause any damage which is not fair wear and tear.

“We are required to make a property habitable for new tenants to move in, to a standard set by our customers.

“The repairs made at Chestnut Avenue were as a result of the previous tenant not meeting these standards.

“With regards to Willow Avenue, we have already inspected the windows in a number of rooms in this property and repairs are ordered for completion in the coming weeks.

“We will be inspecting the kitchen window frames this week and will ensure that any necessary repairs are made on this property.”