�62m for Havering Council home improvements

HAVERING Council tenants will benefit from a �62m investment over four years to improve the quality of council homes, it was announced on Friday.

The funding aims to bring households up a minimum national threshold, called the Decent Homes standard.

Homes should hazard-free, in a reasonable state of repair, and have adequate windows, heating, boilers, plumbing and electrics.

The council’s housing management arm, Homes in Havering (HiH), will use the money to help renovate houses deemed below this standard.

Council leader, Cllr Michael White said: “This is fantastic news and I am absolutely delighted that our tenants can now benefit from such a huge investment that will bring their homes up to the decent homes standard.

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“A large proportion of Havering Council’s housing stock dates back to the 1960s or earlier and, after decades of under investment many properties are below standard.

“We will now work with tenants and Homes in Havering to start the work as soon as we can.”

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More than �8m will be spent in the coming year along with �4.8m from the council’s own pot.

The cash will go towards 630 new kitchens, 630 new central heating systems, 400 new bathrooms, double-glazed windows in 390 homes and new roofs for 150 properties.

The council has lobbied successive Governments over many years to secure the grant.

At one stage the borough was promised �112m which was later withdrawn, but the council was reinstated onto the programme after threatening legal action.

The change of Government saw a complete review of the allocation, where councils were invited to remodel how much it would cost and re-bid for funding in January 2011.

A bid of �67.9m was entered by council chiefs, of which 93 per-cent was granted.

Discussions with tenants will now begin to decide how the money will be prioritised over the next four years.

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