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Options for ageing timber homes are being considered

Stroud District Council is taking action to ensure tenants of ageing Swedish timber houses have sustainable and energy-efficient homes which are fit for the future.  

The Council owns more than 5,000 affordable homes for rent, including 21 Swedish timber properties. They were bought by the UK Government from Sweden just after the Second World War as part of the support package provided to address the housing crisis. They were prefabricated and had a design life of 60 years. They require major investment to bring them up to modern energy efficiency and quality standards.   

The council has to decide on the best solution for the future of these homes, and this includes several options in a review: refurbishment, disposal, or redevelopment. There will be different solutions depending on their condition, repair and improvement costs, location, and ownership. 

A specialist review in 2015 of homes including Swedish timber framed homes led to refurbishment work on some including external wall insulation and cladding. However, a considerable increase in labour and materials costs means refurbishment will cost more, and maintaining the houses will continue to have a higher cost than traditionally-built houses. 

Several Swedish timber framed home council tenants are affected by this review and we are talking to them about our review and the potential impact on them. We are also talking to some residents who have bought Swedish timber homes because redevelopment would allow the council to build more affordable homes.

“We understand that for some residents, this may be an unsettling time, which is why we have contacted them all individually and will continue talking with them,” said Committee Chair, Councillor Mattie Ross.

Committee Vice-Chair, Councillor Lucas Schoemaker added: “A key part of our Council Plan is to provide as many affordable, sustainable and energy-efficient homes as possible, and we want to find the best outcome for the future of these homes and residents.”

This programme will be considered twice by elected members of SDC’s Housing Committee, and consultation with tenants, private owners, town and parish councils, and ward councillors is ongoing. Everyone will be kept updated. 

SDC’s Housing Committee will consider a report at its next meeting on Tuesday, February 6. The Committee is being asked to resolve to approve the preferred option of redevelopment of timber homes in Stinchcombe, Uley and Wotton-under-Edge, subject to a further report to Committee setting out details on the proposed schemes, the financial implications and feedback from further consultation.

The full report to the Committee can be read on the council's website and the meeting is open to the public to the public to attend, or watch online, live or recorded: www.stroud.gov.uk/council-and-democracy

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