Energy efficiency investment focus for council housing improvements
RUGBY Borough Council is to accelerate energy efficiency improvements to council housing, with 95 properties targeted to benefit from cavity wall and loft insultation.
Around 90 properties receiving measures including air source heat pumps and solar energy. The measures will make the properties cheaper to run, warmer in winter, reduce the carbon footprint of the council’s housing stock and help the council achieve its climate change objectives.
In addition, 145 properties will receive new bathrooms and 190 will get upgraded kitchens.
The decision was taken as councillors approved the council’s Housing Revenue Account budgets at a special meeting of the council held last night (8 February).
The budget takes account of the loss of council properties at Biart Place, where two tower blocks have been dismantled, and at Rounds Gardens, where the majority of tenants have now been rehomed ready for three tower blocks to be dismantled in due course. It also takes account of changes in the costs of utilities and anticipated future purchases of housing for council rent.
Rent will rise in line with the government’s recommended increase of CPI plus one per cent, or 4.1 per cent. The average weekly rent of £90.92 would leave the council as the landlord with the lowest rents in the borough, with a 1 bed apartment in the private rental sector expected to cost 58 per cent more than the equivalent council property. Currently, 64 per cent of council tenants receive help with paying their rent through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and the support these tenants receive will be adjusted to take account of changes to their rent and eligible service charges.
Cllr Emma Crane, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for communities and homes, digital and communications, said: “Access to high quality, affordable and environmentally sustainable homes is one of our key priorities for Rugby and we will continue to invest in our properties to keep them to a high standard.
Investing in insulation and other energy efficiency improvements will mean our tenants will be better able to keep warm and well while also helping us meet our climate change objectives, which is another top priority for the future.
“We continue to do all that we can to keep the cost of these improvements down, and with an average weekly rent of £90.92 Rugby Borough Council rents remain significantly less than equivalent properties available from other landlords. We will continue to work closely with tenants to help with budgeting and access to additional support where needed".