Tenants, residents, Councillors and Council staff are celebrating the completion of the four-year £8million Firbeck Revival project to revive an entire estate.
The Council-owned properties have had new kitchens and bathrooms installed and a programme of external works transformed the appearance of the estate with external wall insulation and render, double-glazed windows, new doors and roofs and loft insulation.
Brick bin stores at the front of the houses were removed and new canopies fitted over the front doors. Fencing has also been replaced on many homes to complete the transformation and ensure security.
All private home owners on Firbeck took up a Council grant (which is repayable when properties are sold) to have some or all of the external improvements carried out to their homes.
The final stage was to complete the works on 42 new homes built on the estate and designed to meet the needs of modern families. All of these properties are now occupied and tenants are enjoying life in their new homes.
Ann Williams, who has moved into one of the new flats with her son David, said: “The new flat is great, lots of room and very warm. It’s really nice to have a new kitchen and bathroom, with a walk-in shower.”
Paul Roughley, another tenant in the new apartments, said: “The flats are very comfortable and feel even more roomy than I thought they would. The Council and the builders have done a great job on them.”
The Firbeck Revival forms part of the wider Skelmersdale Town Centre Regeneration Project. The new homes are just the second set of new Council homes built in West Lancashire in the last 20 years. They consist of 14 one-bedroom and 12-two bedroom apartments, and 12 two-bedroom and four three-bedroom houses.
Some new apartments have been built to look like semi-detached houses. All 42 homes are attractive, energy efficient properties which have gas central heating. Each flat has its own parking space and allocated garden area.
Councillor Jenny Patterson, portfolio holder for Housing and Inclusion, said: “The new properties look fantastic and are homes that meet the needs of modern families, while the improvements to the older homes will benefit tenants for many years to come. I want to thank all the Council staff and our contractors who have helped make the project such a success, and all the tenants and homeowners who have worked with us.
“The Council is ambitious for the environment and the Firbeck Revival project helps achieve this as it enhances the local physical environment. The scheme shows what can be achieved when we all work together.”
Keepmoat is the principal contractor building the houses and flats to the Council’s specifications. Their services were acquired through the Procure Plus framework. Arcus provided architectural and employer’s agent services for the project.
Frank Mondino, Keepmoat Area Director for the North West, said: "Keepmoat are delighted to have contributed to the wider Firbeck revival programme by delivering these fantastic new homes the project was a true collaborative effort between the Council, Keepmoat and the local community; it has completely revitalised the area whilst supporting local jobs and training opportunities for the young people of the area during the construction process.
“It’s great to see happy tenants now occupying their fabulous new homes, and we wish to thank the Council for an extremely successful partnership.”
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