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£1 billion bill to repair council's housing stock

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£1 billion bill to repair council's housing stock

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Finance, Local Government

£1 billion bill to repair council's housing stock £1 billion bill to repair council's housing stock

A local authority will have to fork out £1 billion for repairs and maintenance work on its housing stock.

Stock-on-Trent City Council needs to invest £28,626 into each of its 19,100 homes, local newspaper The Sentinel has discovered.

The paper revealed the figures after using the Freedom of Information Act to unearth the results of a £120,000 survey into the state of council housing - data that the paper claims the council tried to keep secret.

The Sentinel also revealed that £2.5 million is needed to bring 1,072 of the council's properties up to the decent homes standard.

The survey found that the £1 billion is needed for:

  • £548 million for maintenance on boilers, kitchens, and roofs
  • £225 million for responses for repairs and reports of damage
  • £95 million on central heating services, grass cutting and repainting
  • £36 million on 'exceptional works' such as damp problems and asbestos removal
  • £1.8 million needed immediately to clear a backlog of repairs

When costs for bringing empty properties back into use and adapting homes for disabled tenants are factored in, the total bill rises to £1.2 billion.

Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for housing, said: "Buying our housing stock was the right thing to do because selling would have meant losing property for a lot less than it is worth.

"This will protect tenants and take advantage of an opportunity to reinvest rent in improving housing standards for the whole city."

The Sentinel suggests that the costs will "spark a debate" about the council's decision to buy its housing stock from the Government rather than selling its ageing properties to housing associations.

The director of local housing provider Epic Housing, Len Gibbs, has appealed to the council to give the social landlord more control over its stock.

Mr Gibbs said: "If the council was to consider transferring some of the stock that requires the most catch-up repairs and investment it could use the money to develop housing options that don't exist or are not adequately provided for – including bungalows and one-bedroomed properties which will become more in demand because of welfare reforms."

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