Posted: Sat 2nd Jul 2016

Community Leaders Visit Council Tenants

This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jul 2nd, 2016

Community leaders have visited council tenants after improvement work was carried out on their properties. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

External Wall Insulation has recently been installed on a total of 170 non-traditional, BISF (steel framed) properties in the villages of Cefn and Johnstown. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This includes 97 Council owned properties in Cefn and Johnstown. They received the work as part of Wrexham Council’s extensive improvements program to bring all its properties up to the Welsh Government’s Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2020. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A further 43 council properties, and 73 which are now privately owned, were also able to receive the work after Wrexham Council managed to successfully secure funding for the private homes from the Welsh Government’s Warm Homes Arbed energy performance investment programme. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The BISF properties in Cefn and Johnstown were built in the 1940’s as a quick solution for tackling the huge post war demand for housing, however, these structures are far less efficient and more costly to heat than traditional insulated brick houses. Many of the properties were also showing significant signs of age. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The External Wall Insulation, which has been installed on the outside walls of the properties, is designed to make them more efficient at holding in heat, thus reducing energy costs for the tenants. The insulation will also fill in cracks to and improve sound resistance, reduce CO2 emissions, and increase the overall lifespan of the properties by protecting the structure from the elements. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The render and brick-slips which covers the insulation has also modernized the appearance of the properties from the outside. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Members of Wrexham Council’s Homes and Environment Scrutiny Committee visited Cefn recently to view the completed work and ask tenants how the work has benefitted them. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cefn council tenant, Eileen Parry, explained, “I noticed a real difference over the winter. The house was a lot warmer and it stayed warm for longer so I didn’t need to have the heating on as much. I’ve seen the difference it’s made to my heating bills too.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Lead Member for Housing, Cllr Ian Roberts, commented, “It’s very pleasing to see the difference the insulation has made to these properties. As well as the heating and energy saving benefits, we also wanted to go the extra mile with the design work and the result is that these now look like brand new houses from the outside. It’s transformed and modernized the appearance of many streets in Cefn and Johnstown and I’m delighted that tenants and residents have been able to benefit from this.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Council is investing over £90m on housing improvement work between 2015-2017 as part of the program to bring all council properties up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. This includes an annual Major Repairs Allowance grant which is awarded by the Welsh Government to local authorities to support them achieving the standard. £7.5m was awarded to Wrexham Council in 2015/16 and a further £7.5m has been awarded for 2016/17. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As well as External Wall Insulation, the improvement work also includes offering new kitchens and bathrooms to properties where they are required to meet the standard. Other internal and external improvements are also being carried out where required, including roofing, electrical rewiring, new central heating systems and external improvements to fences, paths, etc. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Vice-Chair of Wrexham Council’s Homes and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Cllr William Baldwin, commented, “There are around 1,600 Council owned non-traditional properties of various types around the County Borough and our plan is to install External Wall Insulation on all of them by 2020. The program has been a great success in Cefn and Johnstown and I hope that this will be repeated in many other areas around Wrexham as work progresses.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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