£8.5m to upgrade resort council housing

Edwina Toner in her council flat on Talbot Road Blackpool and (below) Coun Gillian Campbell.
Edwina Toner in her council flat on Talbot Road Blackpool and (below) Coun Gillian Campbell.
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DOUBLE glazing and new bathrooms are top of the wish list after Blackpool secured the final £8.5m of cash needed to upgrade council homes in the resort.

Government chiefs have rubber stamped the last phase of funding for the £66m Decent Homes upgrade which began in 2008.

Coun Gillian Campbell

Coun Gillian Campbell

The cash will be used to complete improvements which include fitting new bathrooms, kitchens and double glazing to properties across the town.

Helen Sleaford and Edwina Toner, of Talbot Road, are hoping their flats will receive a slice of the funding.

Although new kitchens have been fitted, some apartments are still in need of new bathrooms, while some tenants in neighbouring Iddon Court are waiting for double glazing.

Mrs Sleaford said: “Our bathroom was so bad we paid ourselves to have a new one.

“My mother is 86, and she lives in Iddon Court next door to us and she has had to put up with rain coming in because she has not got double glazing.

“Her living room has been wet for two years because of this.

“The public hallways are also in a really bad state.

“Most of this money seems to have been spent on the big estates, so hopefully it will be our turn now.”

Mrs Toner added: “There is black mould in my bathroom which I cannot get rid of however much bleach I use.

“But the worst thing is the flats for elderly people in Iddon Court which do not have double glazing.

“I am hoping some of this money will be used for bathrooms but I would rather the elderly tenants got their double glazing.”

In 2010 the Government threatened to axe £27m from Blackpool’s Decent Homes funding, but £20m was reinstated in 2011 after lobbying by the council.

They will receive £4m next year, and £4.5m in 2014 with all the work due to be completed by 2015.

Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for housing, told The Gazette: “Over the past five years 90 per cent of council properties have been upgraded thanks to Decent Homes funding.

“New kitchens, bathrooms, central heating and double glazing have all helped to transform properties and improve the environment in which our tenants are living.

“Although this money had been provisionally allocated to us, it is still a relief to know it’s been confirmed and the programme of improvements can continue.

“By 2015 we aim to have our entire housing stock up to the Decent Homes standard.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard also welcomed the funding.

He said: “I am sure many tenants will be pleased to learn the programme to bring their homes into the 21st century is to continue and I hope modern features of energy efficient fittings and draft-proofing will lead to lower energy bills.“

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