An extra £1.6million is set to be spent on repairs and improvements to council houses in two Suffolk districts, following reports of poor living conditions including damp and mould.

The cabinets of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils will meet on Tuesday when they will be asked to approve the use of money from reserves to help clear a backlog of repairs, which mounted during the Covid pandemic.

The money would also support wider improvements to council housing services in both areas. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Damp in a council houseDamp in a council house (Image: Jessie Carter)

Babergh District Council is set to release £943,000 from reserves, and Mid Suffolk £672,000.

Jessie Carter, Babergh’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We want to address these problems urgently.

“We must prioritise the needs and concerns of tenants – it is our responsibility to provide high-quality, safe, and secure housing for them. I am committed to supporting and working with our housing team to ensure that's precisely what we do."

East Anglian Daily Times: Jessie CarterJessie Carter (Image: Babergh District Council)

Earlier this year, Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils referred themselves to the Regulator of Social Housing after falling behind on gas and electric safety checks on a small proportion of properties.

In most cases, these inspections are now up to date, and processes have been overhauled.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cracked ceiling in council houseCracked ceiling in council house (Image: Jessie Carter)

Miss Carter said, while the housing team has done a lot of work in getting compliance testing back on track, repairs still need to be tackled and the council must ensure their complaints system is robust. 

If approved, the funds would provide resources for 2,000 repairs.

East Anglian Daily Times: Richard WinchRichard Winch (Image: BMSDC)

Richard Winch, Mid Suffolk’s cabinet member for housing and property, said: “We have carried out an extensive review of our housing service and we are moving in the right direction, but we need to do better for some tenants.

“Our teams have been working really hard on this and good progress has been made, but additional resource is needed to complete the outstanding repairs and truly transform our housing service.

“We have also been carrying out enhanced surveys of our properties so we have much better visibility of the challenges we face.

“The whole team is committed to making sustainable, long-term improvements to provide a consistently excellent service to our tenants. This funding will help us achieve that.”