WORK is finally set to begin on a £10 million project to re-clad 1,000 crumbling flats and maisonettes on the outskirts of Sheffield city centre – eight years after the project was first proposed.
Contractor Apollo Group has been appointed to carry out the regeneration of the Lansdowne and Hanover estates, in Sharrow and Broomhall, which will begin in June and take two years.
The firm will put new cladding on the properties, 700 homes will get digital TV upgrades and the company will also carry out internal Decent Homes modernisation including new kitchens and bathrooms for 200 homes.
Apollo, a specialist social housing construction firm based in Essex, said it will ‘work closely’ with Sheffield Council to offer employment and training to local workers.
Apollo is relocating its regional office to Sheffield’s Quadrant Business Centre.
Work to put new cladding on the flats and maisonettes was first proposed in 2002/3 as part of the Decent Homes scheme to modernise council housing across the city.
But the plans were beset by problems.
Residents who had bought their homes under the Right to Buy scheme but paid a ground lease to the council were unhappy about having to make a contribution towards the cost of the work, while other tenants were unhappy the plans meant they would have to remove satellite dishes from their flats.
Leaseholders will still have to pay for some of the work, the council says.
The council also rejected original designs for cladding involving wood due to concerns about the design, quality of materials and potential fire risk.
Coun Jillian Creasy, Central ward Green Party councillor, who has long campaigned for the work to take place, said: “I am really pleased it is happening at long last. Residents have met the contractors and I thought the company was very good and willing to work with residents to ensure the job is done well.
“It will be a difficult challenge because new windows have already been installed at a lot of properties.”
Tenant Fiona Lindenstruth, aged 37, a nursery nurse, of Exeter Drive, who suffered problems at her flat including a leaking sewage pipe, said: “It’s a great thing and I’m looking forward to the work.
“We’ve been waiting for so long.”