Many of Twerton’s social housing is outdated and is in need to be replaced or updated.
“People don’t like to live in flats on the whole,” said Councillor Tim Ball the Lib Dem representative for Twerton. “We have a lot of housing blocks in Twerton and many are old and worn out and we need to look at how we can refurbish them or redevelop them.”
Housing Association Curo took over the housing stock from the council in 1999 when it was called Somer Community Housing Trust.
Twerton is known for its large amount of social housing and much of that housing dates back decades when standards of insulation, heating, energy conservation and sound proofing were not of today’s standards.
“Most people don’t like to live in blocks of flats,” said Cllr Tim Ball,” especially families. Yes, some people do but when you have young children then they want access to a garden to play in and if you are in a block of flats that’s not easy.
“Some teenagers and single people don’t mind them but there’s the issue of noise and also in the older flats damp.
“Repairing them gets more expensive and there’s the question of whether they should be replace. It’s a conversation I will have with Curo in the next few months.”
Curo adopted its new name in 2012 having joined forces with Redland and Shape in previous years.
Based in Bath the association manages 13,000 homes across the region including listed buildings and new builds.
Twerton runs roughly from east to west along the High Street and into Newton Road and features a range of traditional terraced houses, semis, new homes, bungalows and blocks of flats such as the ones at Walwyn Close.
“It’s a massive case load dealing with people and the flats in particular,” he said, “people wanting to move to better accommodation, problems with damp and noise and getting the flats cleaned up and repaired.”
He said that he and his fellow Twerton councillor Sarah More have a good relationship with Curo but the main issue is the age of the housing stock and how to improve things in the long term.
“There is a huge shortage of social housing in Bath, hence the plans by the council to launch its own council house building programme,” he said, “we are looking to bring back building new council housing in the city for the first time in a generation.”
There are of course a number of new homes being built or planned in Bath from the former Foxhill site at Mulberry Park to the one time print works at Paulton and there’s been a battle between residents and developers over plans to build on Tufa Field off Englishcombe Lane.
The first council houses went up after The Great War in 1919 with the passing of the Housing Act as the country attempted to provide homes for the thousands of former service men and women. The boom time was in the early 1950s with hundreds of thousands of homes were constructed.
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