Modernising Council homes

Update - May 2018

Harlow Council’s biggest ever investment and transformation of Council Homes continues, with the improvements completed so far helping to transform our tenants’ homes.

The Council’s Modern Homes Programme has been running since 2013, using data gathered in a full Housing Stock Condition Survey carried out in 2012-13. A key milestone was reached in March 2015, when it was confirmed that 100% of the Council’s properties had achieved the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. This has been maintained since by the further investment which has taken place, resulting in scale of improvements below:

Component Type

Total completions 2013 to end 2017

Additional WC

709

Bathrooms

3,203

Boilers

2,021

Doors

7,382

EICR Inspections (electric safety)

7,093

Heating Distribution

2,216

Kitchens

3,616

Smoke alarms

3,518

Windows

17,583

External Works

859

Total

48,200

 

In 2018-19, the Council will continue its Modern Homes Programme investment (with this year’s budget of £16.75m) based on key principles shaped by our Asset Management Strategy, which are:

  • Maintaining compliance of the Council’s Housing Stock to the Government’s Decent Homes Standard
  • Continuation of the Council’s External Works Programme against a revised specification and standards resulting from the impact of Government legislation (for more information on this,  see ‘External Works Programme’ section below)
  • Significantly increased focus and planning upon the Council’s compliance with health and safety obligations
  • Addressing the Energy Efficiency of the Council’s Housing Stock in regard to replacement and renewal of the Council’s Communal and District Heating Systems (and the poorest performing properties which pose a risk of fuel poverty to our tenants)
  • Works identified in the Garage Strategy approved in December 2015
  • Enhancing the portfolio of the Council’s own Temporary Accommodation with a view to increasing its quantity and quality
  • Maintaining the Council’s significant investment in adaptations to the homes of some of our most vulnerable customers (disabled, long-term illness etc.) to ensure their tenancies remain sustainable
  • Continuing the Council’s aspiration to develop housing of all tenures including social rented, and council housing (reviewing this on an annual basis and as individual opportunities arise
  • Supporting the development of HTS (Property and Environment) Limited

Programme plans

As in previous years, tenants and leaseholders will be contacted directly about any works that affect them.

Leaseholders will have a 30 day statutory consultation during which they can give the Council their comments on the works and estimates of costs before the works start. The contractor carrying out the works will issue an information pack before any work starts, which will include details of the following:

  • What works will be undertaken
  • The length of time we expect the works to take
  • What levels of disruption you can expect
  • Key points of contact and emergency telephone numbers

Each area of works will be managed by a Harlow Team of Project Manager, Clerk of Works and Customer Care Officer who will be available to respond to and resolve any problems experienced whilst work is in progress on site.

Internal Works Programme 

In 2018-19, the Council’s Internal Works Programme will be delivered by HTS (P&E) Limited, having previously been carried out by United Living.

The Internal Works Programme delivers new kitchens, bathrooms, separate WCs, boilers and central heating systems based upon the Stock Condition Survey information gathered about the age and condition of these key components within our properties in 2012-13.

HTS (P&E) Limited’s Internal Works Programme for 2018-19 includes 169 properties which must receive works during the year if they are not by March 2019 to fail the Government’s Decent Homes Standard.

All tenants who are due to receive works under the Internal Works Programme in 2018-19 will receive an initial, introductory letter from HTS (P&E) Limited to confirm this – this is scheduled to be sent before the end of June 2018.

If any tenant has a query in regard to the Council’s Internal Works Programme, this should be raised with Contact Harlow.

External Works Programme

The Council’s External Works Programme has been affected by the savings the Council has had to make to take account of the Government’s Policy to reduce rents by 1% for each of the years 2015-2020. An explanation of the changes made and the priorities retained are included in the link below:

During 2018-19, External Works will be delivered across two phases, with the first being the completion of the remaining schemes to be carried out by Mulalley and Co. Limited. These are:

  • Parsonage Leys – estimated completion late May 2018
  • Conyers – estimated completion late May 2018
  • Sherwood House – estimated completion early July 2018
  • Marriots – estimated completion early July 2018
  • Northbrooks – estimated completion late July 2018
  • Longbanks – estimated completion early August 2018
  • Moorfield – estimated completion early August 2018

The second phase of External Works in 2018-19 will then be completed between August 2018 and March 2019, at the following schemes:

  • The Hides
  • Risdens
  • Hornbeams
  • Hollyfield (Blocks 134-148, 89-104)
  • Woodwards (Block 55-64)
  • Pyttfield (Block 18-27)
  • Longfield (Block 64-79)

In addition to External Works at these schemes, the External Works Programme in 2018-19 will also be completing a significant number of replacements of Single-Glazed uPVC windows at flat block schemes across Harlow.

Tenants and leaseholders will be contacted directly to confirm further details of this second phase of External Works in 2018-19, and leaseholders can see more information on the Council’s approach to paying for such Major Works via the link below:

More information for Leaseholders on paying for major works

Energy efficiency programme

Harlow Council is working to improve the energy efficiency of its homes to help tenants meet the cost of their energy bills and reduce fuel poverty by replacing some of the oldest heating systems.

The programme began in July 2016 at Tanys Dell with the installation of more efficient and controllable heat interface units within each flat, followed by replacing oil-fired communal boilers with modern, efficient gas boilers. The same works were then carried out at Risdens, Rosemary Close and Commonfields/Halling Hill.

In order to comply with the new legal requirements of the Government’s Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations, which came into force in December 2014, as the Council upgrades and replaces its other district heating schemes over the years to 2020-21 individual meters that monitor the amount of energy used per household are being installed. Consultation with tenants will take place at each scheme as the transition to charging for individual energy use is rolled out.

The following schemes are to have their communal boilers/district heating systems upgraded and replaced in 2018-19:

  • Morris House
  • Latton Hall Close
  • Toddbrook
  • Tylney Croft
  • Sumners Farm
  • Fenner Brockway
  • Latton House
  • The Wayre

Cyclical painting programme

The communal areas in the following schemes will receive a painting uplift during this year 2018-19:

  • Broadfields 14-19, and 97-102
  • Abbotsweld 211-218, and 249-256
  • Willowfields 11-21, 22-32, and 33-43
  • Parsonage Leys 47-57, 72-77, 106-111, and 128-133
  • Mallows Green 28-32, 38-42, and 49-53
  • Orchard Croft 104-121, and 122-133
  • Adingtons 1-16

Frequently asked questions