Springbank, Hull

Background

Background

Springbank is a reasonably popular area of older (19th century) terraced housing in West Hull, near the city centre. It is mixed in tenure in terms of BME communities, and attracts a range of single people and families.


The Challenges

The three top issues to tackle were:

• Assessing and then securing the long term investment requirements to safeguard sustainability.

• Reducing anti-social behaviour.

• Successful marketing to a wider range of customer groups.


The Solution

The area was a pilot for major investment in affordable warmth, with substantial external (ECO) funding attracted. Improvements to all 190 properties have included new doors and double glazed windows, internal (front) and external (rear) wall cladding, with associated repairs and improvements (e.g. boilers and heating). Wider kerb appeal factors were also tackled at the same time, including gardens and communal areas. The scheme was shortlisted in the 2016 UK Housing Awards in the Most Innovative Retrofit Scheme category.

Detailed feedback gathered from customers shows a substantial impact on their heating bills and the overall appearance and attractiveness of the area. A customer survey undertaken during 2015/16 has highlighted the impact on customer perceptions compared to a similar survey carried out in 2014. The number of people planning to move in the next two years is down from 30% to 26%, satisfaction with their home was up from 7.22 to 7.75/10 and the percentage of customers feeling the area had stayed the same or improved over the last 12 months was up from 58% to 68%. There was also a significant increase in working households.

The emphasis of the 2015/16 Action Plan has been on good quality housing management, maintaining the quality of cleaning and grounds maintenance through the Group’s Landscapes Team, closely managing the reducing ASB, and marketing the area and its growing appeal effectively to a wider group of potential customers through our website.


The Result

The financial performance of the area as measured by surplus per property has seen a reduction in 2015/16 as a result of an increase in the repair cost per property, driven largely by ongoing planned investment in the stock, but the underlying improvements in housing management performance and neighbourhood sustainability remain.

Turnover remains consistent at around 20%, and re-let times reduced from 29 days in 14/15 to 26 days in 15/16 despite enhanced pre-tenancy checks to underpin the sustainability of new lettings, highlighting the strength of demand. We anticipate both turnover and re-let times to reduce further as a result of our focus on tenancy sustainability and successful marketing to a wider client group.