Industry news

News in brief

• Rugby Council has agreed to move residents out of 124 homes at Biart Place so the two tower blocks can be repaired or demolished. The decision came just weeks after it scrapped its “stay put” policy on two estates over concerns about the structural safety of the blocks in the event of a fire or explosion. The large panel system blocks in Rounds Gardens and Biart Place now have an immediate evacuation policy for residents, ahead of decanting taking place. A spokesperson for Rugby Council said: “The blocks have stood safely since they were built around 50 years ago, and all previous fires within them have been contained as designed. However, having removed some of the concrete within some of the flats, we cannot be completely sure the blocks were built as designed and will perform as we expect in the event of a fire or explosion.”

• Well over £20million has been spent keeping Grenfell Tower survivors in hotel rooms, enough to have built the original block an estimated three times over, figures suggest. RBK&C had paid £20.9m in hotel bills for survivors and their families between June and mid February. The figure is likely to have risen to well over £25m by now – more than double the cost of the discredited refurbishment work in 2014-16. The council has also built fewer affordable homes than any other London borough in recent years with work started on just 244 genuinely affordable homes since 2014 – an average of just 61 each year and less than a fifth of the total built by the average London borough. In the same four-year period, its neighbour Westminster managed to build 423 affordable homes. Overall some 38,514 genuinely affordable homes were started in London since 2014.

• English councils are spending £8.4m a year renting ex-council flats from private landlords to provide housing for homeless families, according to research by the magazine Inside Housing. Freedom of Information Act requests to over 100 councils found 23 are leasing back 725 flats sold under the Right to Buy, for use as temporary accommodation. The true figures are likely to be much higher as many London councils did not provide data. Of those that did Southwark said it was renting 93 ex-council flats for £1.36m a year, while Enfield said it paid out £1.8m in rent for 130 ex-council flats. The rents being charged are far higher than the rents councils would have let them for, if the flats were still council owned.

24 | HMM May 2018 |

Nottingham’s ultra-low energy homes win national innovation award

for Innovation of the Year. The UK Housing Awards, run by the Chartered


Institute of Housing and Inside Housing showcase the very best the sector has to offer. The Innovation award was given in recognition of Nottingham City Homes’ pioneering approach to tackling energy inefficiency in older housing stock to address both climate change and fuel poverty. Nottingham City Homes the arms’ length

management organisation (ALMO) that manages and maintains Nottingham City Council’s council homes, also took home the prestigious Landlord of the Year and Outstanding Approach to Tenant Involvement awards. The three awards combined highlight how by embracing new ideas and being tenant led Nottingham City Homes are making a real difference to tenants’ lives. Nottingham City Homes is the first housing

organisation in the country to adopt a ground- breaking approach known as Energiesprong. The Energiesprong approach, pioneered in the Netherlands, wraps homes with new exterior walls and high-performing windows, a solar roof, and a state of the art heating system, dramatically reducing household energy bills and making homes warmer and healthier for residents.

project that has radically improved the energy efficiency of ten homes in Sneinton has won the UK Housing Award

The construction partners for Energiesprong in

Sneinton were Melius Homes, and the project has been supported and part financed by the REMOURBAN initiative that is developing a pioneering model to show how sustainability can be integrated into the regeneration of towns and cities across the UK (Nottingham is one of three demonstrator cities for REMOURBAN). Councillor Dave Liversidge, the city council’s

portfolio holder for energy and sustainability, said: “It’s a great achievement to have won these awards and testament to the innovation and commitment that Nottingham City Homes has shown to ensure its homes are ready for the zero carbon standards required across the UK by 2050. “Many of our residents live in fuel poverty so

creating more energy efficient homes to reduce people’s energy bills is a high priority for us. We’re very excited that Nottingham is at the forefront of this revolutionary approach, which can help tackle both fuel poverty and climate change.” Nick Murphy, chief executive of Nottingham

City Homes, said, “We’re extremely proud of the work we’ve done in Sneinton, and we intend to roll Energiesprong out to other homes across the city in the coming months and years to make sure that we’re combating fuel poverty and ensuring that more of our residents can benefit from warmer homes.”

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