Town celebrates securing £4m for housing upgrades

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IMPROVEMENT works to council homes in Eastbourne, which had been shelved because of government cuts, will now go ahead.

Eastbourne Homes, Eastbourne Borough Council and MP Stephen Lloyd are celebrating this week after securing £4 million to continue an improvement and upgrade to council homes in the town.

Following the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review last year, all councils had to re-bid for their Decent Homes Programme funding, a government funded initiative to bring council owned houses up to a higher standard.

Eastbourne was told it had lost £7 million but campaigners lobbied key ministers and set out a compelling case for the town to be part of the revised funding programme.

Eastbourne Homes manages the council’s housing stock and has carried out improvements to nearly 3,000 homes in Eastbourne over the past three years.

The additional funding awarded means that this work can now continue to improve the lives of many more tenants.

Eastbourne Homes chief executive Jo Ellis said, “I’m obviously delighted with the news and looking forward to working with our partners to achieve an affordable decent homes solution that will deliver value for money and maximum benefit for our customers.

“I am pleased that consideration was given to Eastbourne’s exceptional circumstances and that the loss of the funding would have affected our most vulnerable and oldest tenants.

“I would like to thank Stephen Lloyd, our partners at Eastbourne Borough Council and the support of our residents for helping to achieve such a welcome outcome.”

With the certainty of funding in place, the Decent Homes Programme can now be put back on track.

The schedule of work in 2011/12 will be accelerated and plans for 2012/13 finalised in the coming weeks and months.

Mr Lloyd said, “This is fabulous news for local people.

“Eastbourne Homes has worked stoically to deliver the Decent Homes programme in the town and were understandably concerned when the new funding framework was announced.

“Working with Jo and her team and the council, we have presented ministers with overwhelming evidence to support our claims.

“I’m delighted that they have responded so positively.”