Mar 7 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
A TOTAL of £15.5m will be spent on improving tenants’ homes over the next 12 months.
More than half of the council’s 6,200 properties will benefit from works, it was announced in this year’s housing budget.
The scheme – the biggest- ever 12-month investment in the council’s housing stock – will see new kitchens in 1,400 homes and new bathrooms in 1,300 homes.
Some £862,000 will go towards upgrading outer security doors on blocks of flats, benefiting 423 tenants.
New doors will be fitted to council houses to help improve security and energy efficiency as part of a replacement doors and windows programme worth about £945,000.
The council will also invest £877,000 in improving the energy efficiency of heating systems for tenants. These works are part of a £55m investment plan for council homes over five years.
Another major project announced at last week’s budget meeting was a new £4m “revival scheme” similar to the one launched in Firbeck last year.
The council is planning to spend £3.7m on homes in Firbeck in the next 12 months and the estate will be the first to receive new kitchens and bathrooms as part of the new programme.
Selected flats on the estate are to be demolished and areas of the estate are to benefit from the building of new homes.
Which area will benefit from the new revival scheme will be decided after a consultation with tenants, but it will be within Skelmersdale.
Cllr Adrian Owens, cabinet member for housing finance, said: “This is excellent news for tenants and will help us achieve our goal of being a top performing landlord by 2020.
“Our investment plans will also boost the economy by sustaining round 200 jobs in the coming year.
“We will continue to work with tenants as we develop our future strategy.”
The council also agreed an increase in rents of 4.97% in line with the government formula – rejecting an amendment put forward by Labour councillor Julie Gibson suggesting a one-year only rent increase of just 1%, in an attempt to mitigate the impact of impending welfare reforms.
Cllr Adrian Owens said limiting the increase to 1% would create a “major hole” in the business plan.