Viewing the external works underway

Housing improvements underway in communities across East Ayrshire

When Council tenants were asked for their priorities last December, the response was clear with 71% stating that improving the existing housing stock was their top priority.

The Council listened and a decision was taken to increase rent by 6.5%, which will allow the Housing Investment Programme to continue at pace with £109 million earmarked over the next five years to focus on issues that matter to tenants.

Councillor Jim McMahon, Cabinet Spokesperson for Housing, Transport and Communities joined Housing Asset Services to view housing improvement works underway in Auchinleck and Barshare.

In Auchinleck, he toured a number of sites with McConnell Construction, viewing the external envelope work underway. McConnell has completed 150 homes with another 70 due to be completed by the end of the month.

Councillor McMahon said: “It was clear from the rent survey where our tenants’ priorities were, so I was keen to join Housing Asset Services and their partner contractors to find out more about the improvement works underway. Over the next year, 400 homes across East Ayrshire will benefit from external envelope enhancements, which means everything is addressed at the same time, from roofing, rendering and guttering to doors windows and improved insulation.

“The impact this is having on our tenants is significant, our communities look more attractive but most importantly we are making our homes warmer and more energy efficient reducing energy costs. It was great to view this process and see the system in place to ensure that the works are carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible and also to view completed streets, where the improved properties literally look like new homes.”

In addition to the external envelope work, 800 homes, throughout East Ayrshire, will also receive new heating systems, 200 will get new windows and 680 will receive upgrades to kitchens, bathrooms and electrical upgrades. Councillor McMahon viewed two homes to find out more about the process behind these improvement works and to chat with a tenant who has recently had work completed.

Councillor McMahon said: “Before any work takes place Housing Asset Services visit our tenants and their designers plan the improvement works, trying to make each design as bespoke as possible with tenants having a say on the layout and also the colour of their new kitchen or bathrooms. Our teams, which include joiners, electricians, plumbers and plasterers, then start work at a time agreed with the tenant and aim to complete all the improvement works within just one week. Housing Asset Services are currently completing ten homes a week, which is pretty impressive when you see the extent of the refurbishment work they are carrying out.

“I know that this work is disruptive, like any home improvement works are, but it is clear that Housing Asset Services are working hard to accommodate our tenants’ needs throughout the process and ensure that they have a say on how their homes are going to look. I was really grateful to our tenants opening their homes to me and chatting to me about the improvement works.

“We’ve asked our tenants what matters to them, we’ve listened, and I will give a commitment that we’ll keep listening and keep taking action to deliver on the issues that really matter.”