West Lancashire Borough Council has reached an important milestone in its £65million Regenerating Homes Programme to make its housing better for tenants.
Replacing kitchens and bathrooms is a key part of the Regenerating Homes Programme. In total over the five year period 4,800 homes will receive a new bathroom –that’s around 80% of the housing stock– and 3,800 new kitchens will be fitted in Council homes (60% of properties.)
The 1,000th new kitchen has now been installed in the home of Gerald and Brenda Sixsmith, and Mrs Sixsmith is delighted with the results.
She said: “Our new kitchen is lovely and we are really pleased with it. The first meal I made in my new kitchen was a hotpot with vegetables, and it tasted even nicer as it was made on my new cooker.
“We are really grateful to the Council for putting a new kitchen into our home and to the contractors for their hard work. Everyone has been really helpful. The contractors were very considerate and made sure they kept everywhere clean.”
Councillor Val Hopley, portfolio holder for Landlord Services, said: “Tenants are really reaping the benefits of our Regenerating Homes Programme. I have spoken to a number of tenants who have had new kitchens and they are delighted with the work.”
The new kitchens have been installed by contractors Wates Living Space and Lovell, who also participated in the Council’s Building a Brighter Future apprentice recruitment event in April 2013. As a result a number of apprentices have joined them to assist with the delivery of this programme.
Councillor Adrian Owens, portfolio holder for Housing, Regeneration and Estates, said: “We are very grateful to the contractors for their hard work on our programme. Not only are they helping to improve tenants’ lives, they are also creating new jobs, which brings a double boost to the borough.”
The Regenerating Homes Programme has had many other successes, including fitting windows in 2,646 homes. This means that almost all of the Council’s houses have double-glazed windows, with the remaining few dozen to be completed in the next 12 months.
Work on the programme is continuing and the Council is planning to install approximately 700 more new kitchens and approximately 900 more new bathrooms in its properties in the 2014/15 financial year.
Other works in 2014/15 will include a £1.53 million investment in improving heating systems, with electric storage heaters being replaced in 266 homes in Skelmersdale, Parbold and Tarleton. The current heating systems in 64 homes in Birkrig and Alderley will also be improved.
The authority has also committed to install new lifts at Evenwood and Marlborough Court sheltered housing schemes, and has brought forward plans to upgrade a further five lifts at sheltered housing in Skelmersdale, Tarleton and Ormskirk.