North Down & Ards plans announced
Published: Tue, 15 Sep 2015
We recently outlined our plans for the next four years, and reported on last year’s investment, at a meeting with Ards and North Down Borough Council.
The meeting represents our annual consultation with local government and is the first with the newly established councils.
We presented a Housing Investment Plan (HIP) which replaced the District Housing Plan of previous years.
We are due to make a significant investment during 2015/16 in the Ards and North Down area. It will support the delivery of new homes as well as invest over £17.5 million upgrading and maintaining its properties, support people to live independently, increase the energy efficiency of homes and provide grant aid in the private sector. Through its landlord and regional services last year we invested over £49m in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area.
During the meeting our senior staff highlighted many of the achievements the organisation has made throughout Northern Ireland in the past year.
Across Northern Ireland, we channelled some £200 million into services to help the most vulnerable which included £10 million on homelessness and £72 million through its Supporting People programme. This included delivering a large planned maintenance programme with work undertaken at 29,000 homes with a direct investment of £100 million in these homes.
The private sector also received considerable support with £13.7 million spent through grants and £15.7 million in tackling fuel poverty.
Speaking at the presentation to Ards and North Down Borough Council, Trevor McCartney, our Director of Corporate Services said:
“The Housing Executive works hard to maintain a good working relationship with councils and it is important this continues. Our Housing Investment Plan has been informed by a range of stakeholders and was developed as a comprehensive conversation piece for the whole housing sector in Northern Ireland.
“As the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland we have prepared this plan to inform the community planning partnership on the state of the housing market, on housing needs, the policy priorities and public sector investment proposals for 2015-19.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done to meet housing need, improve housing stock and provide support for the most vulnerable in our community. We at the Housing Executive will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered efficiently, effectively and judiciously.”
Maintaining our housing stock is a priority and this year in Ards and North Down Borough Council area the organisation will spend nearly £8.2 million on planned and response maintenance to its homes. This will include outside maintenance work to 1,338 homes, new heating in 313 homes, the installation of kitchens in 302 homes and double glazing in 95 homes.
In the Ards and North Down Borough Council area the Housing Executive will also support those tenants who need help to live independently in their homes through the provision of adaptations. Last year it spent £612k on both major and minor works helping people live more comfortably in their homes.
During 2015/16, in partnership with housing associations, 674 new homes are planned to be started in 35 scheme(s).
We endeavour to support the most vulnerable members of society through its Supporting People Programme. In 2015/16 it will invest over £6 million for housing support services. We currently fund 74 sheltered and supported housing schemes in Ards and North Down as well as 8 floating support services.
We continue to contribute to the private sector through a variety of grants to help adapt homes to support people living in their own home for longer. Last year it approved 76 disabled facilities grants, 85 repair grants and a small number of discretionary grants and renovation grants with a value of almost £1.4m.
After the presentation Owen Brady, the Area Manager for Ards & North Down, commented:
“Our teams in Ards and Bangor provide a high quality dedicated housing service to the Ards and North Down Borough Council area. They work alongside our Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit teams to provide our tenants and the wider community with an effective and efficient service.
“Last year we made a substantial financial investment in Ards and North Down along with a contribution which cannot be measured in such terms but makes a significant impact on the local community.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the councillors and officers of the Ards and North Down Borough Council for their support to the Housing Executive. We look forward to continuing to work with them on matters of mutual interest in the coming year.”