COUNCIL TO MAKE £915,000 INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL HOUSING
The Council of the Isles of Scilly has agreed to invest up to £915,000 into improving its social housing on St Mary's.
At a meeting of the Community Services committee on June 30, Members approved a recommendation to carry out repairs and maintenance to properties at The Strand, Longras, Museum Flats and Sallyport.
The report, by Senior Manager for Economic Development Diana Mompoloki, reads: "The Council has over a large number of years under-invested in these properties and, as a result, there is a backlog of major repairs and maintenance as well as a requirement legally for us to improve the energy efficiency of our housing."
The work will include external insulation at Sallyport and Museum Flats, as well as general repairs to be carried out alongside internal work on kitchens, bathrooms, lighting and heating systems.
The recommendation also included that a contribution of £195,000 from the Council’s housing reserve be used to leverage £782,000 from the ERDF towards the required energy efficiency measures.
As part of its Smart Islands project bid to the ERDF, Hitachi Europe Ltd are required to physically install renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. The Council can benefit from this installation on its own housing stock and have the installation 80% funded by ERDF.
Diana said: "So we're going to have £1 million funding for £195,000 of our own money."
All rented housing is required to have an EPC rating of at least E. Failure to achieve this would mean that Scilly's social housing could not be re-let from 2018 and not let at all from 2020.
The entire package of works will cost £915,000 over three financial years. "This will hopefully make our homes warmer, drier, more attractive and more pleasant to live in and improve the lives of the tenants who live inside them," said Diana.
Lead Member for Smart Islands Cllr Steve Sims added: "This is a very positive development for Council tenants and will hopefully compensate a little for the prolonged underinvestment in our housing stock.
"As importantly, the islands have disturbingly high levels of fuel poverty and this project will go some way to alleviate this, which is particularly important for the elderly. This is already in the pipeline for EU (ERDF) funding and I think we can be optimistic that it will come through, though we are all aware of how volatile things are at present."