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220m homes revamp to begin?

In just one year costing of homes and services as been under estimated by 68 million pounds.

September 28, 2011

The South Wales Evening Post reported tonight that the first phase of a 220 million upgrade of thousands of former Neath Port Talbot Council homes starts on Monday.

Social landlord NPT Homes says it will spend around 3 million between now and Christmas.

The first phase will focus on the Sandfields West, Neath East (Melin) and Pontardawe wards.

Contractors have already been appointed for the work, which will initially see 635 new kitchens and bathrooms installed, along with 410 heating systems.

NPT Homes' head of investment and regeneration Andrew Carey said the three wards were selected because of the overall level of work needed.

"We are getting off to a gentle start to make sure we are running smoothly," said Mr Carey.

"But we will then ramp up, and eventually we will have a target of 38 kitchens and bathrooms a week, 30 heating installations and 40 electrical rewires."

The transfer came about after tenants were balloted on whether the council's entire housing stock of more than 9,000 properties should be handed over to new social landlord NPT Homes.

It was part of the Assembly's Welsh Housing Quality Standard. The council argued it did not have the money to bring its homes up to scratch while NPT Homes would have access to funds not available to the authority.

Over the next six years the organisation will fit 9,000 kitchens, 7,000 bathrooms, 6,000 heating systems and rewire 4,500 homes.

Director of assets Steve Tucker said it would have been impossible to carry out all the work simultaneously but emphasised all tenants would have their turn.

"We are actually doing more work than was set out in the offer document to tenants," he said.

"For example, it said we would improve or replace 9,300 kitchens and bathrooms, whereas we will now be replacing them all rather than upgrading."

The transfer has not been without its critics, with opponents condemning it as a form of privatisation.

But chief executive Linda Whittaker said: "We are setting out to do what we said we would do, and more.

"Transfer only took place seven months ago so we are doing extremely well."

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The Sting

NPTC Looking Forward Newsletter February 2010 (pdf) - Get ready to Vote for NPT Homes. Transfer would help to unlock ‘152 million’ for homes and services in the first six years to bring them up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. (Not completely true - actually its New directives to European standards)

And now…

NPT Homes Tennant Newsletter - Issue 01 March, 2011 (pdf)
NPT Homes will spend ‘220 million’ on homes and services in the first six years to bring them up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.

In just one year costing of homes and services as been under estimated by 68 million pounds. ‘Yes’ 68 million pounds?

First, Neath and Port Talbot Council fiddle the Vote and now, NPT homes fiddle the figures. Chief executive of NPT Homes Linda Whittaker said: "We are setting out to do what we said we would do, and more” Yes, lots more!!  Who is going to pay for this 'Black Hole' that just appeared in their figures.

We’ll continue to keep a close eye on Neath and Port Talbot Council and NPT Homes apparently operating as a ‘Not for Profit’ company?

NPT Watchdog