On Tuesday 8th January, following consultation with tenants and leaseholders, Milton Keynes Council’s Labour Cabinet agreed the first 5 years of it’s long term investment proposals covering the Council housing service up to 2048.
The highlights of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan are:
- Investing £165 million to bring all 12,620 Council homes up to the Decent Homes standard by 2024.
- The introduction of an Estate Renewal strategy to bring forward major investment in all areas of the city, not just regeneration areas.
- To exceed the Council Plan target and provide 500 new council homes by 2022.
- To invest more in supporting tenants to be more involved in service design, delivery and scrutiny of services.
- That the HRA is sustainable over the next 30 years and surplus funds are predicted to be £323 million, allowing further choices for investment.
The key priorities identified with tenants and in the Business Plan are:
- Investing more in repairing existing homes
- Investing in new homes (with an emphasis on larger family homes)
- Investing in new kitchens and bathrooms
- Improving energy efficiency
- Investing in pavements, paths, fences and gates
- Improving entrance security for communal and sheltered accommodation
Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration Nigel Long said:“The Council Housing Business Plan sets out the Council’s commitment to long term investment in the 12,600 Council houses in the Borough. It sets out our commitment to build many more Council houses and to put tenants and leaseholders in the driving seat in setting investment priorities and reviewing services to improve them. We want a responsive customer focused housing service, as well as truly affordable high standard houses that provide security and are great places to bring up children or grow old in.”
Council Leader Pete Marland added: “Labour inherited a poor performing Council Housing service, where around 35% of homes were non decent because the Council had not taken up the opportunities to invest and upgrade during the Blair and Brown governments. The service was not financially strong and the annual investment programme had been stopped. We are committed to investment in existing homes and to building new homes that will meet the needs of households with low and modest incomes. The HRA Business Plan puts investment and the views of tenants at the heart of our approach.”
The First Five Years. (2019-20 to 2023-24)
Page 17 of the HRA Business Plan sets out the first 5 years of the 30 year plan. It sets out how the £165 million will be spent.
Planned Maintenance is roughly £33 million pounds per year. On top of this is the £10 million spent each year on day to day repairs and maintenance.
The plan also highlights that:
- Fire safety work is planned in Mellish Court and the Gables (tower blocks).
- The 16 Reema blocks of flats in West Bletchley could be re-modelled.
- More derelict garage sites could be built upon.
- The redevelopment of the Buckland Lodge sheltered housing scheme on Netherfield.
Cllr Long said:“The Council is committed to improving all Council housing across Milton Keynes. We are proposing to spend around £43 million per year. That is 195 million over the next 5 years. We are also committed to building many new homes.”
Cllr Long concluded: “We want families to live in high quality homes that are secure and truly affordable. And we want to put tenants at the heart of responsive good customer services. The HRA Business Plan is good news. We now plan to deliver it.”