Longer wait for decent homes work

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THOUSANDS of Doncaster council house residents face a longer wait for major improvements to their homes.

Doncaster Council’s cabinet has backed an alteration to the Decent Homes programme which will now see work carry on until 2015, rather than being completed by 2014.

The move follows a reduction in the amount of cash Doncaster is receiving from the Government, as ministers try to shave billions of pounds from the national debt.

The borough was originally due to receive £78 million for the scheme. But that has been downsized to £47 million.

Councillors backed an option put to them which will see the programme extended until 2014-15. Cash to pay for the remaining houses will come from a planned £24 million programme of efficiency savings, which is being made by St Leger Homes, the arms length management company which looks after about 21,000 homes for the council.

Under the four-year programme backed yesterday, two years of energy efficiency works will be carried out on properties this year and next year.

It will see 7,925 properties that do not meet energy efficiency specifications receiving insulation including loft, cavity and external cladding, new heating systems, windows and doors and an electrical rewiring.

It will include a £3.5 million thermal cladding scheme for eight high-rise blocks of flats in the borough, which is expected to extend the lives of the blocks by 30 years, and work on the Windhill estate in Mexborough.

That will be followed by the completion of the remaining decency standards work in the same 7,924 homes during 2013-14 and 2014-15. It will see refurbished kitchens and bathrooms. Tenants considered ‘vulnerable’ may have bathroom work brought forward if council adult services bosses recommend it.