Published: February 18, 2011
Council homes in Burnham-On-Sea area get surprise £25m boost

Council houses in the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area are set to receive much-needed improvements following a huge £25m cash injection this week.

Homes in Sedgemoor and Sedgemoor District Council have this week been allocated £25million of 'Decent Homes' funding from the national housing and regeneration agency, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), over four years.

The huge cash injection has been welcomed by both Homes in Sedgemoor and Sedgemoor District Council, which set up the organisation in 2007 to manage council-owned homes and to seek funding to improve properties in need of repairs.

In the past, more than 80% of the council's housing stock failed to meet the national Decent Homes Standard where they are wind and weather tight, warm and have modern facilities.

The money will be used to bring council homes up to a modern standard through Homes in Sedgemoor's Decent Homes Programme.

Given current Government cuts and the squeeze on budgets nationwide, the funding boost is a major boost.

Bob Brown, Sedgemoor's Corporate Director, told "This is an excellent result for Sedgemoor’s tenants at a time when public funding is being reduced across the country. The hard work of Homes in Sedgemoor staff and tenants, with the support of Sedgemoor District Council, has now borne fruit and allows for much needed investment in our Council homes."

In late 2010 the Audit Commission deemed Homes in Sedgemoor to be delivering a standard of service consistent with a ‘two-star’ rating, with excellent prospects for the future.

This placed the previously ‘no-star’ organisation with uncertain prospects, as one of the top performing social housing landlords in the South West and placed them in an excellent position from which they were able to bid for funding to improve homes.

Homes In Sedgemoor’s 'Decent Homes' Programme will now begin from the start of April 2011 and will carry through to 2015, resulting in a huge investment into the Sedgemoor area during this period.

The organisation has pledged that local building resources will be used, bringing job opportunities for skilled workers and local apprenticeships.

Most importantly, council tenants whose properties have been waiting for needed improvements will get warmer homes with modern facilities that will be easier and cheaper to run.

Gary Orr, Chief Executive of Homes in Sedgemoor, said: "We’ve been on quite a journey since 2007 and are absolutely delighted that our hard work has paid off with our inspection result late last year and now the confirmed allocation of £25 million! This is a pivotal factor in our future and more importantly the future of our residents across Sedgemoor. The Homes in Sedgemoor team are ready to deliver Decent Homes from April, and are committed to continuously improving the quality of the housing and services we provide to council tenants."

Chris Moseley, Chair of the Sedgemoor Tenants Voice, added: "It is the result we’ve all been waiting for and the milestone we have been working towards reaching for so long. We cannot wait for the works to start and see Decent Homes become a reality."

And council leader Duncan McGinty said: "In these times when all you hear about is cuts, it is heartening to hear this excellent news. I am sure that Sedgemoor tenants will be pleased that all the hard work put in by Homes in Sedgemoor and council staff and members has paid off."

Council tenants will find out more about how the improvements will be delivered from April 2011 onwards when they are contacted by Homes in Sedgemoor as surveys and work begin in the Burnham-On-Sea area.

Pictured are Gary Orr, Chief Executive of Homes in Sedgemoor, and Chris Moseley, Chair of the Sedgemoor Tenants Voice


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