Midlands & East Anglia

South Northants to provide Decent Homes for all

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South Northants Homes are almost half way through The Major Works Programme, which is a five-year plan designed to bring all their properties across South Northamptonshire up to the Decent Homes Standard set by the government, whilst also delivering against their offer document promises made when they completed their stock transfer from council to housing association.

South Northants Homes (SNH) is a social housing provider that is governed by a Board of Management and managed by a Senior Management Team. The budget for The Major Works Programme is around £3.5m a year, or £12-14m in total. 1100 homes are now complete, with a further 1,200 in the pipeline.

Mears Group are carrying out the internal modernisation of the homes. Damon Ellis from Mears Projects described how the company has worked very closely with the occupants in order to make sure that they are fully satisfied with the developments taking place in their homes. Their work – which has included installing new kitchens and bathrooms, along with upgrading boilers – is the result of both a strong working partnership with South Northants Homes and consultation with the tenants. Initially, surveys are carried out within the homes to determine the work needed. Mears Projects then provide each tenant with a detailed explanation of the works that will be carried out in their home. This is then followed by a 7-day cooling off period, in which the tenant can change their mind with regards to any of the design aspects. The tenants are kept informed throughout the refurbishment as a Customer Care officer is on site daily, as are site management.

The most recent satisfaction survey indicates that 98% of tenants are satisfied with the programme – a score of ‘Excellent.’ The majority of tenants have been able to remain in their homes whilst works have taken place.

In addition, an Environmental Improvements Programme has been put in place. This has improved parking for tenants – a key issue raised in a survey 18 months previously – in the form of driveways and parking schemes. There is also an external works contract, which has involved the replacement of footpaths and fencing.

The scheme started in October 2008 and is expected to be complete in October 2013.

Mark Griffiths from South Northants Homes said: “We’re half way through the programme of work and it’s coming along nicely. We have a customer committee and an improvement forum, the members of which are all tenants of our homes. We like to demonstrate to them that we’re doing a good job.”

to the development, which is formed from a teal metal solution and protrudes from the building. Multicoloured metal panels were also installed, which has made the building both interesting architecturally and pleasing to the eye.

The development, which was funded by Bank of Cyprus Ltd, should prove to be a popular source of accommodation from neighbouring universities Leicester and De Montfort; indeed it is only a 10-15 minute walk from De Montfort University. It is also situated next to the £300m High Cross shopping complex.

As the project narrowly missed out on the deadline for ProCon Leicestershire Awards 2011, it will be entered next year.

“We’re pleased to have worked successfully with the client’s team, who have designed a building which is not only fit for purpose but will be enjoyed and admired by users.”

Primary Property Horizons specialise in delivering 21st century facilities and support services for the healthcare sector. They are a developer, project manager and consultant – designing and building new buildings and refurbishing, extending and modernising existing premises. Primary Property Horizons work in partnership with General Practitioners (GPs), Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), Local Authorities (LAs), Local Improvement Finance Trust Companies (LIFTCos), Pharmacists , Care Home operators and other healthcare professionals to provide local communities  across the United Kingdom with individually tailored, modern and accessible health and social care facilities.

For more information on Primary Property Horizons, visit http://www.primarypropertyhorizons.co.uk/

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