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£117m investment due for council houses

TENS of millions of pounds are being spent over the next two years as part of the biggest-ever upgrade of Swansea's council homes to ensure they meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) .

Milford Way - house fronts

A report to Cabinet has detailed how £42m has been spent in the last financial year on upgrades including new kitchens, bathrooms, boilers and insulation improvements to help cut tenants' fuel bills and their carbon footprints.

And in 2019 and 2020 another £117m - supported with an annual £9.2m grant by Welsh Government - is being invested in the WHQS improvements.

The cash will deliver more than 4,000 new kitchens and bathrooms, provide further insulation measures, regenerate high-rise homes in Croft Street and provide adaptations to make life more comfortable for tenants with medical needs.

Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy, said the spending was part of the biggest-ever overhaul of Swansea's 13,000 council homes and was creating jobs for local people as well as apprenticeship and training opportunities.

She said: "The ambitious scheme to upgrade Swansea's existing council homes and meet the WHQS is due by the end of 2020 and after that we intend to accelerate the work we're already doing to build more affordable homes in our city's communities.

"Affordable accommodation that's energy-efficient in safe and neighbourly communities is the starting point for anyone who wants to make the most of theirs and their family's lives.

"An investment in council homes is an investment in our communities' futures."

"We've already made a start in Collier's Way and Parc y Helig, building a new generation of homes designed to be energy-efficient to help tenants keep fuel bills down and reduce carbon emissions.

"Parc y Helig is due for completion in this financial year with a second phase of Collier's Way due to complete soon after. It's the first time in a generation local authorities have been allowed to build new homes.

"That's one of the reasons why Swansea is making the most of this opportunity to help meet the ever-growing need for affordable homes."

The work is being funded by rental income from tenants and Welsh Government grants, and not from council tax.

The report to Cabinet said that last year 27 people from local communities were employed on WHQS projects as well as 800 training weeks and 15 apprenticeships.

Around 140 new council homes are expected to be built in Swansea by 2022, some of them as 'Homes as Power Stations', supported by a Welsh Government grant of £1.5m. These properties will have solar panels and battery-powered energy along with either ground or air source heating.

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