£33million boost agreed for town's social housing

Mid section view of a Workman building cinder block wall, applying mortar. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IST

A huge programme of repairs, new builds and maintenance is planned for Colchester - Credit: Getty Images

Rented housing in Colchester is set for major improvements and an increase in new builds following agreement for a £33million cash injection.

Colchester Borough Council's cabinet has agreed the sum for the year ahead to maintain, improve, and refurbish its housing stock and its environment.

Of the £33m, around £12m has been earmarked for new builds and acquisitions, and this sum is set to grow even more in future years.

Colchester Borough Homes' board - which runs the council's housing - sought approval for the money after drawing up its plans with the authority for the 2022/23.

The plans include £5.2m for works on the third phase of the re-development of garage sites, and £3.4m for further council new build schemes and with provision of £2.1m to purchase properties developed by Colchester Amphora Homes for the council

Members of the cabinet also agreed to invest £2.6m in a programme to continue buying properties - through a combination of homes offered back to the council through the Right to Buy legislation, and also by purchasing properties on the open market.

A report to councillors said money would also be spent on refurbishment and maintenance projects to enable the "decency standard to be maintained", adaptations and aids, safety works, repairs, and environmental works.

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More than £7m would also be spent on sheltered housing - most of it on the project to replace  Elfreda House, in Iceni Way, Colchester, with a three-storey complex of 36 self-contained one- and two-bedroom flats, four more than previously available, each with self-contained bathrooms, kitchens and living room.

The housing plans are part of the borough strategy to tackle the causes of inequality and support its most vulnerable people, supporting people to live in healthy homes that meet their needs, increase the number, quality and types of homes, improve existing council homes to keep them in good repair and improve energy efficiency, and prevent homelessness.

The report said: "Any housing investment has a significant impact on the quality of life for local people. As a consequence the targeting and effectiveness of the programme has huge interest for members and the public as a whole.

"Updates will be publicised to the customers in the areas to receive work during the year."