Row breaks out over external insulation plans

By Tristan Harris Thursday 09 January 2014 Updated: 12/01 23:47

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Buy photos » One of the homes in Charford which has been fitted with external insulation. s

A ROW HAS broken out about a scheme for Bromsgrove homes to have external wall insulation after residents in one road complained it would have a negative effect on their properties.

Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (bdht) has applied for planning permission relating to several roads across the district so the work can be carried out on its properties. A partnership with Bromsgrove District Council also means the scheme could be extended to private owners to have the work done if they wanted although, the council stressed, there was no obligation for homeowners.

Among the roads included are Barnfield Road, Broad Street, Churchfields Close, Churchfields Road, Cobnall Road, Crabtree Lane, Dragoon Fields, King Edward Avenue, King Edward Road, King George Avenue, King George Close, Melbourne Ave, Millfield Road, Perryfield Road, Perryfield Close, Shrubbery Close and York Avenue.

But, some residents are unhappy with the proposals.

One who contacted The Standard said: "Changing the natural appearance of the surrounding properties could have a detrimental effect on property prices.

"At the moment, the road looks uniform, with all the houses fitting in together.

"That could change if half of them have the insulation and half of them don't."

He questioned the bill for the work as, he said, it could cost each house £10,000 if subsidies were not found and, at a predicted saving of £450 per year in heating bills, it would mean it would take 22 years to recoup the cash. He asked if it would make more sense to subsidise other improvements.

"We have spoken to builders who say new boilers, loft insulation and better insulated windows would have more of an impact on reducing heating bills and lessening people's carbon footprint, without changing the appearance of the building."

He said the other issue was the planning consent being sought.

"I have spoken to other residents who have had to be very particular when they have had extensions built."

He said it was stipulated the works could not alter the overall appearance of the road but, he claimed, introducing external insulation for some homes, but not others, would do just that.

Barry Stevens, bdht’s head of asset management, said community and regeneration work in Bromsgrove was an ongoing project the trust had been completing over a number of years.

"We have already insulated over 200 of our homes to help increase energy efficiency and reduce energy bills for our tenants.

"There is no indication these works have decreased the re-sale value of properties around them.

“We are committed to improving communities and working with the council and other partners to ensure Bromsgrove is a place that everyone can be proud.

"This is a fundamental part of developing sustainable communities.”

Bromsgrove District Council's head of environmental services Guy Revans said he was optimistic funding would be available.

“Much better prices than normal could be available for homeowners that choose to have this work done at the same time as bdht.

"Factor in any green funding that may be secured and we hope that if and when the time comes, residents will be amazed by the size of the discount on offer.”

He added in the past when external insulation projects had been carried out in the past, neighbours said they would have liked the chance to have their house done at the same time.

For more on the project, visit www.bromsgrove.gov.uk/warmerwallsproject.

For free and impartial advice, call energy specialists Act on Energy on 0800 988 2881 or email advice@actonenergy.co.uk.

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