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Housing association faces further strike action from maintenance workers

28th August 2015

A housing association hit by strike action over changes to the terms and conditions of its maintenance staff faces a further walkout next week. Members of the UCATT, GMB and Unite unions are taking industrial action on Tuesday 1 September after they claimed the Staffordshire-based association refused to meet them or seek mediation via ACA. UCATT says the dispute is about Aspire's plans to cut workers’ terms and conditions from 1st October. It claims the cuts include a reduction in sick pay, an ...

Contractors wanted for £836 million social housing framework

27th August 2015

Re:allies, a strategic collaboration of housing consortia, is calling for contractors to deliver its new build social housing framework in the North of England. The New Build framework, which officially launched yesterday, comprises four lots of projects in the North West and Yorkshire and Humber, with works totalling more than £836 million. Organisations which make it onto the new build framework in the North West will be supported by Re:allies member, Procure Plus, while firms in Yorkshi...

Islington sets out plans to limit 'mega-basements'

27th August 2015

Residents and others have just a few more days to respond to Islington Council’s plans to limit the size of basement extensions and the impact these have on local areas. Soaring property values have led to a steady increase in the number of planning applications for the excavation of large basements in Islington, with the number of planning applications containing basement developments rising from 41 to 62 between 2013 and 2014. The council has published new draft planning guidelines, whic...

Local authorities refer 2.1 million debts to bailiffs in 12 months

27th August 2015

Local authorities in England and Wales instructed bailiffs to collect debts on 2.1 million occasions last year, according to new research by the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline.  The figure shows overall bailiff use by local authorities has risen by 16 percent in the last two years, despite calls for debt collection practices to improve and wide variations across the country. The charity’s 'stop the knock' research, based on freedom of information requests...

Stepnell appointed for £6.1m Wiltshire care home development

27th August 2015

Work is underway on a £6.1 million specialist care home for local people in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) has appointed construction company Stepnell to create a high-quality 64-bed specialist dementia care home. The 3,600 sq. metre, two-storey development will be built on the site of the existing empty 1970s Paddocks care home off Hilperton Road. Stepnell’s Wantage team will demolish the existing building before starting construction work on the new develop...

Bellway and Heylo Housing sign three year agreement

27th August 2015

Bellway PLC the UK’s 4th largest national house builder, and Heylo Housing Limited a newly created joint venture with a leading local authority, have signed a 3 year contract to deliver ‘affordable’ shared ownership homes across the country required as part of planning obligations. Heylo has acquired over 500 properties in 25 local authorities since it launched in September 2014. This includes a portfolio of properties developed by Bellway’s ‘affordable’ housing subsidia...

Dorset residents trade places for the day

27th August 2015

Residents in Dorset have been trying their hand at plumbing, bricklaying and carpentry as part of a free trades taster day. The day, run by Sovereign Housing Association at its Ringwood office, was designed to help residents decide if a career in trades might be for them. The residents, supported by Sovereign’s experienced tradespeople and apprentices, were given the chance to have a go at different activities, including removing a tap and laying bricks. Sean Langworthy, who came along to the e...

TVH on tour brings essential services to tenants’ doorsteps

27th August 2015

Thames Valley Housing (TVH) took to the road using a tour bus to visit its widely-spread residents. The first two weeks in August saw TVH take its services across a wide range of areas including Guildford, Reading, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Hounslow, Slough and Bracknell. The properties TVH own and manage are so spread out, that it’s very difficult for some residents to visit the office and see staff in person, so the office was taken to them. The tour bus began its journey in Surbiton and...

Gentoo lays blame at government's door for job cuts

26th August 2015

Redundancies are set to be made at social housing provider Gentoo Group. The shock announcement  was made to staff by Gentoo Group chief executive Peter Walls (pictured). According to local media reports, around 1,200 staff were told the news at a specially-convened meeting held at Rainton Meadows Arena at Houghton-le-Spring. He revealed that savings of up to £18m will have to be made following government announcements in the Budget which cut social housing rents and stepped up welfare ...

Berneslai Homes sign up to new home exchange service

26th August 2015

Berneslai Homes have signed up to the national home swap service House Exchange from 29th August 2015.  House Exchange is the largest not-for-profit national home swap system. The aim of the scheme is to match existing social housing tenants looking to swap homes by way of a mutual exchange. Berneslai Homes lettings manager, Bob Cartwright adds, “Unfortunately because of demands on the waiting list we are unable to assist everyone looking to move homes. By registering with House Exch...