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Multi-million pound housing upgrades underway

More than a thousand properties in South Tyneside are being given a facelift.

Work is underway on 1,115 homes in the Borough thanks to a £15m funding boost.

The renovations, which are taking place on properties across five estates, are part of the Decent Homes programme.

Esh Property Services is carrying out the work on behalf of South Tyneside Homes and held a series of open days where tenants were invited to make choices about the design of their homes.

The programme involves a mix of kitchen and bathroom replacements or refurbishments, rewiring and heating installations.

Councillor Allan West, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: "Earlier this year, the Homes and Communities Agency awarded us an additional £15 million in funding to extend our Decent Homes programme and enable us to carry out this work.

"Thousands of residents have already benefited from the scheme and we're delighted that even more will have their standard of living enhanced.

"Esh Property Services has been very keen to involve tenants, enabling them to choose their kitchens and bathrooms, and the feedback has been very positive so far."

Contractors are already on site on Hedworth North, Fellgate, Calf Close, Lakes and Biddick Hall estates. The work is scheduled for completion in late Spring next year.

Graham Morgan, Operations Director, Esh Property Services, said: "We are delighted to be working once more with South Tyneside Homes on this major refurbishment programme.

"In order to meet the requirements set out by the HCA we are completing works to between 50 and 60 homes each week, involving up to six streams of site work taking place simultaneously.

"Around 40 new jobs, mostly employing local people, have been created by Esh Property Services as part of this deployment and we've appointed apprentices to four of the positions."

The new roles will cover all the trades, including joinery, plumbing, electrical, plaster and brick work as well as management positions.

In 2008, South Tyneside Homes began an eight-year programme to renew over 18,000 properties to the Decent Homes standard on behalf of South Tyneside Council.