City of Wolverhampton Council has launched a multi-million pound regeneration programme to replace its out-dated housing stock with better homes.
It is part of a strategy that is being developed for the replacement or refurbishment of its 4,100 homes built by old, non-traditional construction methods.
Following structural surveys of all the stock, the first homes identified for replacement are 93 prefabs, known as ‘Tarrans’ on the Lincoln Green Estate in the Northwood Park area of Bushbury.
More than 20 years ago extensive structural repairs and improvements were undertaken to extend the serviceable life of these properties.
But the Tarrans have now been declared defective under the 1985 Housing Act - and suffer from a number of issues including failing structural elements, leaking and poorly insulated roofs, very poor thermal efficiency, and wet rot in the floor.
The Council has taken the decision to regenerate the Council owned properties on this estate before they have an adverse effect on its tenants’ health and wellbeing.
The new, modern housing will also provide a greater ability to adapt properties to meet tenants’ needs, something which has been difficult to achieve in the current prefab properties due to their structural limitations.
The overall programme is being managed on behalf of the council by Wolverhampton Homes and a consultation process has started with residents in Alleston Road, Alleston Walk, Grosvenor Road, Grosvenor Crescent, School Lane, and Wood Lane.
Diane Brookshaw, aged 61 has lived on the estate for 9 years with her husband Mervyn.
She said: "It’s natural that I was concerned when I first heard about the regeneration, as my husband is disabled and the specifications for my bungalow need to be just right. However, we were put at ease through the open days and conversations with staff, and we know our new bungalow will be fit for exactly what we need.
"I'm looking forward to a fresh start. Our home is heavily adapted, and it’s been great so far, but if we did need more work doing to the bungalow, it wouldn’t take it. The walls aren’t up to more alterations as they weren’t built to last this long, sometimes my pictures fall off the walls!
"My sister-in-law and good friends live on the estate, so we are happy that our new bungalows will all be on the same estate that we know and love.”
Rosemary Ball, aged 74, has lived on the estate for 15 years and welcomes the regeneration.
She added: "I'm quite happy in my bungalow but can see they need drastically updating. The walls are thin, the floors feel flimsy and I'm looking forward to a home that's fit for purpose.
"I enjoyed the open days, where all of my questions were answered, and staff listened to our thoughts. I love the idea of a warm and cosy new home, as I know they will be much more energy efficient and will help me with the rising cost of bills.
“I’m looking forward to a home that needs less upkeep, and one that other families can enjoy for many years to come."
City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, said: “These post-war prefabs were built in 1946 and were not intended to be in use 76 years later. The properties are in such poor structural condition that they can no longer be economically and satisfactorily maintained.
“For the safety and comfort of our residents, we are delivering better homes in the long term that they can make their own in the same location.
“We will continue talking with all those affected and have already engaged with all tenants on the estate, with the majority saying they understand the absolute necessity to remove these out-dated prefabs and replace them with new modern homes.
“Following initial consultation with all tenants at open days and home visits, further consultation will take place through individual home visits between August and early autumn to determine each tenant’s needs and discuss design ideas to ensure their new home meets their requirements.
“The tenants’ voice will be strong and heard throughout the whole process – and we hope to start works in 2023.”