§ Mr. Hargreaves
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has reached a decision on proposals submitted to his urban housing renewal unit by the borough of Blackburn; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir George Young
I am pleased to announce my right hon. Friend's favourable response to a proposal for a scheme in Blackburn which the borough council has worked up in close consultation with my Department's urban housing renewal unit and our North West regional office.
The estate which will benefit from today's decision is the Green Lane estate in Blackburn. This estate, of traditional construction, consists of 175 houses and 16 flats built between 1923 and 1932 and 215 houses and 39 flats built between 1952 and 1956, a total of 445 dwellings.
The council intends to set up locally based management and repairs arrangements on the estate. An estate-based housing management office will be established and will provide a comprehensive housing service to residents. I regard this as an essential part of the package in order for the council to sustain the improvements which we expect to see as a result of the other steps being taken.
One such step will be a two-year community refurbishment scheme to enable local unemployed people funded jointly by my Department's urban programme and the Government's community programme, subject to consideration and support by the Manpower Services 141W Commission's area manpower board, to carry out improvements to the environment and communal areas on their estate and to improve energy efficiency and security. Resources of the order of £1,286,179 will be involved, including £665,279 of urban programme funding, which I am pleased to approve in principle.
I have also agreed to an additional capital allocation of £400,000 from UHRU's targeted housing investment programme resources in 1986–87 to enable the council to modernise 133 houses by renewing kitchens and bathrooms, installing central heating and insulation, re-wiring and renewing roofs, doors and windows where necessary. The council proposes to carry out similar work on 190 other houses out of its main HIP programme.
This scheme is yet another example of the proposals being worked up through close co-operation between a local authority, my Department's urban housing renewal unit and regional offices. I now look forward to seeing these proposals being put into action for the benefit of the residents at Green Lane, Blackburn.