PORTSMOUTH’s head of housing has sought to reassure residents the revamp of a housing estate in the heart of the city will be completed to a high standard.
Wilmcote House in Somers Town has been a hive of activity over the past couple of years as the council works on carrying out major improvements.
This project is such an important one for the tenants of Wilmcote House, and I really wanted to come down and take a look at how the project is coming along.Tory housing boss Steve Wemyss
Once completed, the multi-block building will provide much-improved living conditions, as well as insulation and improved energy costs thanks to materials used during construction.
Questions from some of the tenants on the timeframe of the development encouraged Tory councillor Steve Wemyss, cabinet member for property and housing, to visit to check on the works and see how the project is coming along.
While there is concern from some about the length of time things are taking, Cllr Wemyss remains excited about the redevelopment.
He said: ‘This project is such an important one for the tenants of Wilmcote House, and I really wanted to come down and take a look at how the project is coming along.
‘I fully understand and share the frustration of the residents with regard to the slow progress of the project.
‘We’re actively working with Keepmoat to resolve the issues and can assure them that the council is robustly managing the contractor within the terms of the contract to ensure that the project is completed without further delay.
‘A lot of time was spent on developing this scheme so that we could provide a better standard of living for our council tenants, and it was important to us that their views were heard and taken into consideration.
‘This unfortunately added to the project time scales as we took resident feedback on board and implemented any changes we could to improve the building as per their suggestions, but it’s important to get it right.’
The council’s asset manager, Steve Groves, added: ‘This scheme is such an innovative and complex retrofit project, which means we’re re- developing an existing structure.
‘So whilst that has its challenges as opposed to a new build, the plans that we put in place will ensure a much improved thermal performance for the building.’