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Warm Reception For Home Improvements
Council tenants living on a South Tyneside estate have given a warm reception to an ongoing improvement programme that is helping them to reduce their home energy bills.
A total of 230 homes in Biddick Hall, South Shields have benefited from internal and external improvements since October 2010, as part of South Tyneside Homes' non-traditional homes programme. The borough-wide programme includes Decent Homes work and external insulation upgrades.
The housing company's partner contractors Esh Property Services, who are part of Esh Group, recently completed the second phase of the improvement programme. Work to homes across seven streets included the installation of replacement kitchens and bathrooms, as well as a full electrical rewire.
The homes have also been made more energy efficient, helping tenants to lower their fuel bills by up to £500 and reducing carbon emissions. This was achieved through the installation of new heating systems, upgrading windows from single to double glazing and external insulation upgrades.
One of the tenants to benefit from the work is Frieda Gilland (94), who has lived in her home for almost 55 years. She said: "I am really pleased with the work that has been carried out and it has been well worth the wait. My house is now a lot warmer."
Neighbour, Karen Bell added: "I absolutely love our house now. We continued to live in our home while the work was carried out and once the re-wiring work was completed it was plain sailing. All the staff and workmen were excellent and we miss having them around."
Local councillors Anne Walsh, Olive Punchion and Tom Pigott are also delighted with the transformation of the estate so far.
In a joint statement, they said: "The work that is being carried out in Biddick Hall has brought about tremendous change, improving the lives of the tenants who live in these homes and the appearance of the estate. South Tyneside Homes and their partner contractors have done a fantastic job in delivering the programme so far and we are looking forward to seeing more tenants benefiting when the next stage of work starts."
The third phase of the programme is set to start in April. This will see a further 132 homes benefiting from similar improvement works, which are also being carried out by Esh Property Services.
Graham Morgan, Operations Director at Esh Property Services, said: "We work really hard to make sure these complex schemes run smoothly and that the disruption to householders is reduced to a minimum. It's truly heartening to hear that some residents will actually miss us - it really matters to us to get such great feedback."
Leading gas and electricity supplier, SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy PLC) has also provided external funding for the programme through the Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP). This funding is to help with the installation of energy savings measures to homes in fuel poverty status. Statistics show that the North East has one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in England.
Douglas Harding, CESP Manager for SSE said: "SSE is delighted to be supporting South Tyneside Homes in the provision of these energy saving measures. The projects are helping to reduce the fuel bills of tenants, as well as helping to support the local communities in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions."
Mark Whittle, Director of Investment for South Tyneside Homes, said: "It is fantastic to see that work is progressing so well on the Biddick Hall estate. Through the delivery of this programme we are creating more modern and sustainable homes for tenants, as well as helping to alleviate any issues with fuel poverty in the area at the same time.
"Levels of satisfaction with the improvement works have been consistently above target, reaching 9.89 out of 10 in September 2011. This is down to the high-levels of customer care offered by our on-site teams and the great relationships that they build with the tenants living in these homes."
South Tyneside Homes manages and maintains over 18,000 homes on behalf of South Tyneside Council, including 1,864 non-traditional homes.
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