New kitchens to be fitted in 232 council homes

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Work is due to start next month to install new kitchens at 232 Douglas Council properties in the town centre and on the Ballavagher estate.

Housing and property advisory committee chairman David Ashford said the work was ‘long overdue’.

And he described the kitchens in Lord Street as being ‘extremely, extremely basic’.

‘Some have been in for well over 20 years,’ he said.

Douglas Council has asked for central government approval to borrow £2.22 million for the scheme, to be paid back over 15 years.

The scheme also includes refurbishing 24 kitchens on the Willaston estate, after external works have been completed on them.

The work, which includes new work surfaces and cupboards but not white goods, will be carried out by Cedar Developments Limited, and the provisional start date is February.

New kitchens have already been installed at Douglas Council homes in Anagh Coar.

Meanwhile, Mr Ashford announced how an increase in social housing rent from April would affect tenants.

On average, weekly rent for a three-bedroom home will increase by £4.09 to £85.99, for a two-bedroom home by £3.47 to £72.80, and for a one-bedroom property by £2.43 to £50.95.

In fact, some tenants will see a fall in their rent.

Mr Ashford said last year the Council did not implement the Department of Social Care’s revised points system for calculating public sector housing rents as it was unconvinced it was the right route to take.

Instead a general increase of 11.25 per cent was approved.

From April, the Council will be adopting the new points system. To bring rents into line with other housing authorities, it means removing the 11.25 per cent, before adding the 2013 1.8 per cent inflationary increase, and 5 per cent for this year, the maximum percentage approved by Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw.

Introducing the new formula, Mr Robertshaw said it took into account the significant advances made in building design, improved construction standards and modern amenities, rather than relying on a basic measure of room sizes and facilities such as central heating and double glazing.

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