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What a year!

2015 was a big year for us. It was five years since we took over your homes from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and promised to bring them up to Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS). The fantastic news is that we did it and more!

We pledged to complete:

  • 5,000 kitchens – and did 5,806
  • 4,400 bathrooms – and did 5,092
  • 3,750 rewires – and did 3,343 full rewires, 5,734 upgrades
  • 3,600 replacement heating systems – and did 4,679
  • 2,700 replacement roofs – and did 3,610.

The scale of the project was huge – not only in the amount of work needed, but also in the number of homes requiring renovation.

However, it was completed on time and under our budget of £111 million.

The work had been carried out by contractors and we loved hearing about how delighted you were with your new kitchen, bathroom, roof, rewire and updated heating system.

Theresa Edwards in Blaina said:
“My old kitchen was alright but it was very dark. My new one is all white and very modern looking. It is much better and I am so pleased with it. The team that put it in were also great, the workers were so clean and tidy.”

Her comments echoed by other tenants who told us:

“I couldn’t fault the work or the workers who installed my new kitchen and rewired my home.”
“It is (the kitchen) fabulous and a thousand times better than the old one.”

We used local people and suppliers wherever possible keeping as much of the income we generated within the county borough to benefit those who live and work here.

Paul Davies, Director of Property and Asset Services, said:
“It has been fantastic going around our neighbourhoods seeing all the great improvements made to your homes. I have enjoyed talking to tenants and hearing how the programme has made a real difference to you. Thank you to everyone for their patience and understanding as the work was carried out in their homes. Also, I am sure you will want to join with me in thanking our staff and contractors for the great job they did in transforming your homes.”

Our promise to install new windows in a 1,000 homes hasn’t been fulfilled. We are sorry not to have done the work, fortunately they did not fail WHQS.

The really good news is that we are now going to do it – and for everyone. We will start work this summer to replace the windows in all your homes over the next six years. The new units will have a 30 year life span and be more energy efficient, helping to keep homes warmer and cheaper to heat.

In the meantime, £400,000 has been allocated for repairs to windows, which won’t immediately be replaced. We are currently putting together details of the programme and will let you know shortly when your windows will be replaced.

While we completed our main WHQS programme, it didn’t come to an end in 2015. Kitchens, bathrooms and roofs etc., which currently comply, will age and need updating or replacing. There are also what the Welsh Government calls “acceptable fails” where work is still programmed to be completed, such as environmental improvements, or because some tenants chose not to have any work done in their homes.

It is estimated that we will spend £86m over the next five years on the new WHQS programme and other repairs. It will be carried out by us and our contractors, creating jobs and training opportunities.

Our aim, as we set out in 2020 Vision, our corporate plan, is to continue creating homes and communities where people want to live, visit and work.)

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