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MP urges answers on ‘sky high’ bills in Bradford
A multi-million-pound project to give a housing estate an eco-friendly revamp has stalled, leaving residents counting the cost of high energy bills.
Now an MP has demanded answers from the housing provider’s chief executive. A regeneration scheme began on the Hawkshead Estate, in the Manchester Road area of Bradford, in 2004.
Houses had their flat roofs replaced with insulated apex roofs, while an insulated render cladding system was fitted to the outside walls. Flats on the estate were also given a revamp.
The project, which aimed to make the homes warmer and cheaper for residents to run, was due to finish in 2010, but there are still 24 houses waiting for work to start. Now housing provider Places for People has said it cannot complete the work without more funding.
One of the residents, Michael Stoker, said the energy bills for his three-bedroom house in Heddon Walk were “shocking”.
The retired driver, 66, said his home’s thin walls had only one layer of brick and it was costing him a fortune to heat.
He said: “All the buildings that have had the work done, their bills are brilliant, they are retaining the heat, whereas we are losing it straight away.”
He said: “Every time you ring up, nobody wants to know. They say ‘I’ll ring you back’, and nobody rings back.”
The residents contacted Bradford West MP George Galloway (Respect), who wrote to the chief executive of Places for People twice, but said he received no reply.
A spokesman for Mr Galloway said he would be now raising the matter with housing minister Mark Prisk and would be setting up a meeting with affected homeowners.
He said he would also be writing a third letter to David Cowans, the chief executive of Places for People.
A spokesman for Places for People said: “Over the past decade Places for People has delivered a £2.2million programme to deliver improvement works to 178 homes on the Hawkshead estate.
“This has included new PVCu windows, new insulated external rendering and replacing the flat defective roofs with new insulated concrete tiles, making the homes warmer and cheaper for residents to run. However further improvement works are dependent on bidding for future funding.”