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From pre-fab to absolutely fabulous: Staffordshire’s post war homes get £2.8 million makeover

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From pre-fab to absolutely fabulous: Staffordshire’s post war homes get £2.8 million makeover


Published by Hazel Rycroft for Keepmoat in Housing

Keepmoat Site Manager Sean Talbot and Neil Kearns of Aspire Housing pictured with delighted residents Andy and Val Durber. Keepmoat Site Manager Sean Talbot and Neil Kearns of Aspire Housing pictured with delighted residents Andy and Val Durber.

More than 50 pre-fabricated homes in Newcastle-under-Lyme have been turned from woe-homes into show homes, thanks to the completion of a £2.8 million regeneration scheme.

The Airey-type properties located in Ashley, Audley and Madeley, were built after World War II to resolve the housing shortage at the time.

Intended as a temporary solution, they were constructed using a frame of concrete columns making them cheap and easy to build.

Unfortunately, the budget building materials also made the homes draughty, harsh on the eye and no longer suited to modern needs.

But now thanks to Aspire Housing, which commissioned regeneration specialist Keepmoat to refurbish the properties in November 2012, the homes have been brought into the 21st century.

The intensive thirteen-month programme saw Keepmoat encase the concrete panels on the outside of the homes with attractive new brickwork.

The homes were also given new insulation, triple-glazed windows, new doors and roofs, with fifteen properties also opting to have ground source heat pumps installed to provide low-cost energy to their homes.

The work, which took place as residents remained in their homes, also saw all properties receive new driveways and boundary walls.

A total of 53 Airey homes were improved in the three villages of Ashley, Audley and Madeley, which residents say are now “vastly improved”.

Among the Aspire customers to benefit are Andy and Val Durber of Sovereign Lane, Ashley. The couple, who are both 50, live with their three children Sam, 26, Vicky, 25, and Amanda, 23.

Andy, who is currently off work due to illness, suffers from severe arthritis and has lived with wife and full-time carer Val at the property for 16 years.

Previously spending £140 a month on solid fuel to heat their home, the couple has seen their bills slashed since the work on their home was completed in October.

Opting out of having a ground source heat pump installed, the couple has spent just £70 on fuel in the four months since their home was refurbished.

“The improvements have made our day-to-day lives much easier and have made a massive difference to the area.

“The homes were outdated even when we moved in 16 years ago, so these improvements have brought the homes into the 21st century.

“We are also worrying a lot less about bills.

“I can’t thank Keepmoat and Aspire enough for making these improvements – our homes are now out of this world,” says Andy.

The quality of the scheme has already been recognised through two awards from the National Home Improvement Council in the categories of Energy Efficiency in Local Communities and the George Plucknett award for outstanding achievement of 2013.

Neil Baxter, Regional Director at Keepmoat, said: “This has been a really satisfying project to be involved in. We’ve been able to bring these post-war homes well and truly into the 21st century, by improving their appearance, and making them far more comfortable and efficient to heat.

“We developed a really good relationship with the tenants during the course of the scheme, and they all seem delighted with their improved homes.”

Wayne Hughes, Managing Director from Aspire Housing, said: “I’m delighted that customers are enjoying the benefits of this programme of improvement.

“These popular homes have been transformed and are now fit for the 21st century, and our customers will save money on their heating bills at a time when rising energy costs are a real concern for households across the country.”

Airey homes are named after their original designer Sir Edwin Airey. The concrete columns that went into their construction were often reinforced with tubing recycled from the frames of military vehicles.


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