THURROCK’S ‘Transforming Homes’ programme kicked off with a lively start at the Culver Centre in South Ockendon yesterday (Monday 24 June) for the five year investment programme to improving council homes to a ‘Beyond Decency’ standard.
This was the first of many sessions where local residents and businesses alike could find out what opportunities might come their way as a result of a multi-million pound investment in homes in the borough.
Contractors: Wates, Keepmoat and Lakehouse were at hand at the event held to answer resident’s questions about the refurbishment programme and what it means for them. Thameside Electricals, CG Group, Econogas, Fleetwood Building and Maintenance and Total Maintenance were some of the local companies that attended and were able to discuss signing-up with the contractors who have all committed to sub-contracting a portion of work to local firms.
The afternoon was a lively session with up to 60 local residents questioning council officers and contractors about the programme and discussing any questions they may have about what it means for them. Residents were also able to see pictures and samples of the new kitchens and bathrooms that would soon be installed in their own homes.
Cllr Val-Morris Cook, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Thurrock Council said: “Yesterday’s event showed that the money spent on Council homes benefits the wider community and not just Council tenants. In a time of recession it’s important to extract as much value out of this contract as possible. Through using our money smartly we have been able to work with our contractors to ensure that benefits to the wider community in the form of jobs, sub-contracting, supplying materials and training and apprenticeships have also formed a key part of this refurbishment programme.”
Further sessions will soon be held linking the contractors to local colleges to ensure that training and apprenticeship opportunities are also made available to local people. More resident consultations will also take place in every locality over the coming weeks.
The council has already written to tenants who will be part of the programme with details of inspections and how they can arrange to view some of the show flats to give them an idea of what to expect.
Housing tenant participation officers and contractor resident liaison officers will also visit residents to discuss any additional requirement our more vulnerable residents may have before any of the works are planned to commence in their individual homes.
For more information on the Council’s Transforming Homes programme visit www.thurrock.gov.uk/housing