New council homes are earmarked for borough

NEW council homes are set to be built in the borough for the first time in more than 23 years.

A total of 20 new properties – a mix of two-bedroom bungalows and one and two-bedroom flats – are to be built at Station Road, Wallsend, and Byrness Court in Battle Hill.

Work is due to start in spring next year.

North Tyneside Homes – the council’s housing arm – will also invest nearly £14m in a series of improvements to existing housing stock.

Work will consist of replacing nearly 600 kitchens and bathrooms, improvements to more than 800 and 100 electrics systems, and 475 new fences.

There will also be £1.37m spent on special adaptations to homes to support elderly and disabled residents, as well as painting and decorating nearly 2,000 properties.

The programme has been set out as part of the council’s budget planning for its Housing Revenue Account.

And the authority is close to appointing the preferred bidder to deliver its Quality Homes for Older People project, which will see 16 existing sheltered homes modernised and ten new ones built by 2015-16.

The council is also proposing that rent increases for next year will be in line with the national social rent policy introduced in 2001-02.

Mayor Linda Arkley said: “Historically, North Tyneside Council rents have been kept artificially low, and this policy has resulted in a lack of available funds for investment in council properties.

“By bringing rent in line with the recommended levels, it means the council can now afford to maintain homes to a decent standard.

“Residents will continue to see real and tangible improvements to their properties through the significant re-investment we’re now able to make.”

Proposed rents for 2013-14 will increase by an average of 5.81 per cent – which equates to a rise of between £2.63 and £5.22 per week, per household – while service charges will increase by 2.6 per cent.

Once approved, the new rent and service charge levels will come into effect from Monday, April 1 2013.