Council houses in communities across Barnsley are expected to be revamped in the year ahead at a cost of almost £16m with replacement heating boilers and new roofs expected to be among the most expensive elements of the work.
Barnsley Council has met ‘decent homes’ standard for its accommodation – managed by Berneslai Homes – since 2010 but the accommodation needs a programme of upgrade work to help maintain it at that level.
Now senior councillors on the ruling Cabinet are being asked to approve investment which would see homes improved on a ‘worst first’ basis across the borough, with the work calling under a programme called the Barnsley Home Standard Scheme.
The Kendray and Aldham House, Wombwell, estates are expected to be the biggest cash beneficiaries, with more than £2.8m earmarked for each, but the plan would also see around £2.3m spent on homes in Penistone and surrounding communities, with homes in areas including Kexborough, Darton, Staincross, Great Houghton and Goldthorpe among those to see improvements.
Almost 300 homes on the Kendray and Aldham House estates will see work, with smaller numbers elsewhere.
As part of the routine improvement programme, more than 1,200 gas boilers would be expected to be replaced but an additional 350 are now included in the council’s plans, with an investment of £1m.
New boilers have an immediate advantage for tenants because they are more fuel efficient so immediately bring energy bills down.
A report to the Cabinet, which meets next week, states: “Customers receiving new boiler installations will benefit from digital programmable timers and multiple location heat controls.
“They will receive both face to face and written instructions on the use of the heating systems.
“We will encourage our customers as part of the programme to take up smart meters from their energy supplier.
“On the home standard programme and elemental works, we will be actively promoting the benefits of switching energy suppliers to the new Barnsley Energy Tariff – Great North Energy.
“We also provide advice on keeping the home warm and can help with specialist advice for those struggling with energy and other bills.”
At present, gas breakdowns cost around £2m a year to repair and replacing boilers with modern equipment is expected to help reduce that expense.
Across the borough, 336 homes are expected to get new roofs, at a total cost of £2m, boosting around £13m to be invested under the Home Standard Scheme to a total of almost £16m.