HC Deb 20 May 1986 vol 98 cc139-40W
Mr. Andy Stewart

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 Mansfield district council; 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 Mansfield which the district council has worked up in close consultation with my Department's urban housing renewal unit and our East Midlands regional office.

The estate which will benefit from today's decision is the Pleasley estate in Mansfield. This estate comprises 220 terraced houses built between 1890 and 1910. It is at present rundown, neglected, litter-strewn and in need of basic renovation and repairs. It is Mansfield's No. 1 priority for action.

The council intends to devote extra senior staff time to local housing management, focusing on the Pleasley surgery. A caretaker will also be appointed, with responsibility for general oversight, minor repairs, litter picking and help with rubbish removal. I regard efficient localised management 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 one-year scheme to enable up to 20 long-term unemployed local people funded by the Government's community programme, subject to consideration and support by the Manpower Services Commission's area manpower board, to carry out improvements to the environment and communal areas on their estate. Under the scheme dwellings will be redecorated internally, fences and walls will be rebuilt, and landscaping and planting of open spaces will be undertaken. Two part-time community workers will also be taken on to develop community groups and tenant participation, and to assist in the provision of welfare and financial budgeting advice.

I have also agreed to an additional capital allocation of up to £300,000 for UHRU's targetted housing investment programme resources in 1986–87 to enable the council to carry out urgently needed rewiring and a range of external works on the dwellings. Where necessary, doors, windows and rainwater goods will be replaced, and painting and re-roofing carried out.

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 Pleasley.

Forward to