Milestone for homes upgrade

MORE than two thirds of former Castle Morpeth Borough Council homes have now been upgraded.

Castle Morpeth Housing (CMH), which took control of the 2,200 properties in 2007, has announced that it has completed work on its 1,500th home as part of its Major Improvement Programme.

To date, the association has spent about £25million in the programme across the former borough council area, investing in new bathrooms, windows, doors, boilers and decoration as required.

All of the properties which did not meet the national Decent Homes Standard had been refurbished by the end of 2010 and work is now taking place to upgrade the last few hundred homes that already come up to the standard, but need improvements.

CMH Managing Director Tina Drury said: “Thanks to the investment we have made, an incredible 1,500 of our 2,200 properties have been transformed in just three years since the company was formed.

“It’s not been without challenges, especially in maintaining momentum after the flooding of 2008, but this 1,500th home milestone demonstrates just how far we’ve come.

“I am immensely proud of what our partnership has achieved in such a short space of time.”

The latest property to be refurbished as part of the £32million programme was Violet O’Shea’s home in Hadston, where the kitchen, heating and electrics were all upgraded.

CMH has worked alongside contractors Mears and FHM, along with project manager Faithful+Gould, to carry out the improvements borough-wide.

Kevin Morrow, of Mears, whose staff completed the work on Mrs O’Shea’s home, said: “We never get tired of hearing how much people appreciate the work we do on their homes.

“It’s been a fabulous effort from all our people working alongside Castle Morpeth Housing and the other partners to refurbish so many homes so rapidly.”

FHM Lead Resident Liaison Officer Simon Ferry added: “Working on this programme has been a great experience as our team members have seen the difference they are making to people’s lives.

“We look forward to another year of hard work to finish off the refurbishments across the CMH estate.”

Mike Reynolds, of Faithful+Gould, said: “Everyone involved in the Major Improvement Programme has worked hard to complete this many refurbishments in just three years.

“We are pleased to have been part of such a well organised team and the on-time delivery of the Decent Homes work is a real feather in the cap for us all.”

CMH took over the council homes following a tenants’ ballot that found residents in support of the move.

It will merge with Milecastle and NomadE5 housing associations in April to operate as one company under the parent Isos Housing Group brand.