People in four blocks of high rise flats in Netherton are having their say in plans to breathe new life into housing supply in the borough.
The council recently undertook a review of all housing stock with a view to creating a sustainable 30 year housing strategy for the borough. It took into account such things as ongoing maintenance costs, sustainability, desirability and levels of occupancy versus rental incomes.
As a result of this review four blocks of flats, Wells & Manor Courts and Arley & Compton Courts in Netherton, which were built in the 1960s were identified as no longer sustainable. The council has forecast that maintenance and repairs to these four blocks including overcladding of roofs and replacement of lifts would cost a minimum of £9.1m in the short term.
Consultation with the residents who live in the four blocks began in May, with several public meetings and open forums encouraging residents to share their views. Following careful consideration, it has been decided to recommend to cabinet on 20 July, that existing tenants are relocated to more modern, suitable and desirable properties and the blocks demolished.
If approved at cabinet, the final decision in relation to the proposals would be ratified at full council in October. Each tenant would then receive face-to-face meetings with officers who will undertake an individual assessment of their needs before looking at the most suitable options for them. Re-housing would begin once these assessments were complete, most likely from the start of 2017. We would estimate that the rehousing process would take around 18 – 24 months based on previous experience of similar schemes, although it could take less or more time.
A decision about the future use of the sites has not yet been taken but is likely to see new, lower-density builds than the current high rise blocks and a mixture of tenures including private and social housing, and which could include a mix of properties for rent, part ownership and potentially outright sale.
Councillor Gaye Partridge, cabinet member for housing, said:
“Over the next 30 years it is estimated that we will require around £1.2 billion to keep the council’s current 22,000 properties at a decent standard.
“The lack of demand to be housed in these four blocks, plus the £9m investment needed to bring them up to date is not the best use of council money. Empty properties lose us money and prevent us from investing in and maintaining other council properties for the benefit all of our tenants.
“Following a detailed sustainability assessment, officers have recommended that we stop letting these properties, re-house remaining tenants and demolish the blocks.
“We have been in frequent contact with residents living in these blocks, and if this does go ahead we will attempt to make the transfer to other more modern and appropriate properties as easy as possible.”
Residents are asked to direct questions to the council’s Tenant Participation team on 01384 815168/email email@example.com .