£100million homes boost

THOUSANDS of homes across west Suffolk, including those on some of the areas most troubled estates, are to undergo major improvements over the next decade thanks to a £100m spending plan.

THOUSANDS of homes across west Suffolk, including those on some of the areas most troubled estates, are to undergo major improvements over the next decade thanks to a £100m spending plan.

The money made available to the Havebury Housing Partnership, which controls 5,700 homes in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and the surrounding villages, will also help build new homes in the area.

As part of the scheme, homes on impoverished estates such as The Clements in Haverhill and the Priors in Bury, will undergo major improvements to improve the lives of residents.

Other major work will also take place on the Howard, Nowton, Mildenhall and Westley estates in Bury and the Chalkstone and Parkway estates in Haverhill.

As part of the scheme 7,000 improvements have already been carried out, including fitting new security doors and windows to several homes.

Over the next decade other work will include installing efficient central heating, re-wiring projects, kitchen improvements, new insulation, installing smoke alarms, improving the look of properties and estate enhancement schemes.

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Havebury took over St Edmundsbury Borough Council's housing stock in 2002 after the authority began to struggle to fund the necessary improvements to the homes.

As part of the deal the housing charity was promised £90m to spend over the next 10 years. It has already started its improvement schemes and due to its charitable status is able to claw back VAT payments on repairs to any home which was part of the local authority's housing stock.

It is estimated that Havebury will be able to recoup around £10m from VAT over the next decade taking the total improvement spend up to £100m.

Havebury's chief executive Steve Cook said: "We are very pleased with all the funding, we are a non-profit making organisation so all the money will go back into improving the homes.

"We are delighted because we will now be able to make a real difference to people's homes and living conditions and therefore improve the quality of their lives.

"We can't do everything at once and it will take us 10 years to carry out all the work but we will be working hard all the time to make improvements. We have already carried out 7,000 improvements on our homes.

"Money will also be spent on building new homes, but we can't say exactly how many at this stage."

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