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First buyers move into £1 homes in Stoke

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First buyers move into £1 homes in Stoke

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Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Stoke 1 Stoke 1

Two people who bought a house in Stoke-on-Trent for just £1 have been given the keys to their fully renovated home.

Successful applicants for the £1 homes took out a £30,000 loan to improve the property. This will be paid back over the next 10 years.

Matthew Thompson and Kasie Czarna moved into the Rutland Street property after six months of improvement work by Kier Stoke, the joint venture partnership between Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Kier, to bring 33 empty homes back into use.

The houses are among 124 long-term empty properties across the city that have been earmarked for regeneration through the council’s clusters of empty homes project. So far, 32 of the 33 £1 houses, in the Portland Street area of the city centre, have been sold to approved buyers, and the council is in talks with applicants regarding the sale of the final home.

Joy Garner, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: "The £1 houses project may initially have sounded like a gimmick, but it has been astonishing how quickly interest in this project has spread, and not just around the UK, but across Europe and even to distant places like Russia and China."

Warehouse worker Matthew Thompson said: "We can’t wait until the other new residents move in as well so that we can start improving and regenerating the area."

Kier Stoke, which provides repairs and maintenance to more than 19,000 properties in Stoke-on-Trent, carried out £1 million of internal and external renovations on the 33 properties, including chimney works, roof repairs, replacement doors and windows and floor and stair repairs. It also replaced heating systems, wiring, kitchens and bathrooms in the properties.

Kier Stoke is a joint venture partnership with Kier and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, formed in February 2008, which provides responsive repairs and home improvements for more than 19,000 council properties.

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