Improving council’s homes is Val’s top priority

THURROCK is changing the way it deals with improving its housing stock, the council’s top housing member Cllr Val Morris-Cook told cabinet colleagues on Wednesday (16 January).

She explained that the council currently used “a strict interpretation of the decent homes standard which almost always meant upgrading the minimum number of areas to a home”.

Cllr Morris-Cook said that over the coming five years she wanted the housing team to take a wider view, look at improving “a whole street or a whole estate” and not to take a “sticking plaster” view.

She said: “The team has looked at all our stock, at what areas need doing, and when we’re doing new build like at Seabrooke Rise, we should also look at doing the whole estate.”

And she added: “There are areas in Tilbury and Purfleet too; areas where we can do whole blocks at once, whole streets together and whole estates together.”

Cllr Morris-Cook explained that typically, if a home needed a new bathroom or a new kitchen, then only that was done. Now, if a kitchen needs replacing, there is a good chance others in the neighbourhood need it too as well as replacing bathrooms windows and the like.

Cabinet was told that in the current financial year, three-quarters of the council’s 10,500 homes have requested a repair; that more had been spent on responsive repairs than on capital investment and that many homes suffered from mould and damp.

The new system would mean increasing capital spending to reduce the need for one-off repairs. Cllr Morris-Cook said: “These principles are designed to ensure the borough is able to deliver on its strategic objective of providing housing that is both sufficient in quantity and decent in quality in the most cost-effective and efficient way.”

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