Light at the end of the tunnel for housing repairs

Kingston Council has been granted £11.6 million by the coalition government to fund Decent Homes work in our housing stock. This is a four-year programme and there will be no money in the first year (2011/12), but then £2m, £4.4m and £5.2m in the following years.

This money will be spent by the council on bringing more of its housing stock up to the Decent Homes Standard. The standard requires that a building is free of hazards, does not need any major repairs, has reasonably modern facilities and is properly heated and insulated.

The Government’s criteria for a successful bid were a strong case for investment need and clear proof that the local authority could deliver value for money. Representatives of the council have argued Kingston’s case under this criteria in a series of meetings with the Government agency responsible for allocating the money. Most recently, a manager from the London office of the Homes & Communities Agency came to Kingston to meet the Leader and Executive Member on 6th January. He also discussed future investment in housing with officers.

Cllr Frances Moseley, Executive Member for Better Homes says:

“At last there are funds available to improve our housing stock and reverse the continuing decline. While we would have welcomed more money, and earlier, this is excellent news. This money has to be spent specifically within the Decent Homes guidelines but, together with the abolition of the negative subsidy system from 2012, it represents major new funding for our property.

I am delighted that the series of discussions Kingston Council have had with the Government housing agency paid off. As councillors, it is vital we ensure that Kingston’s well deserved reputation as a prosperous and attractive place to live does not allow regional or national government to overlook the areas within the borough that require support on a level with any in London.

This money will mean we can make great progress in bringing our housing up to the ‘Decent Homes Standard’ and, when the Government also delivers on a promise to allow Kingston to invest the rents it receives back into its housing stock, there will finally be a real prospect of every one of our residents living in a warm and comfortable home.”

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