Buoyant Roddons explains how Manea, Whittlesey, Chatteris and Wisbech will be among those to gain from massive house building programme

Chief operating officer Chris Smith was in buoyant mood today as he presented his annual update to the overview and scrutiny committee of Fenland District Council.

Whilst accepting the association’s commitment to 500 homes post transfer in 2007 had failed, he was confident Roddons would meet that target within the extra three years that was agreed.

Across the parent Circle group of eight housing associations, Roddons had been given the second biggest house building programme for Fenland, said Mr Smith.

He spoke of 30 homes under way in Acacia Avenue, Wisbech, and another 24 to replace the empty old people’s complex at Napier Court, Wisbech.

A further 21 homes were being built to replace The Dales at Elm whilst 14 homes – including four low cost home ownership- were being built at Wype Road, Eastrea.

In Williams Way, Manea, said Mr Smith he expected a �5.1 million scheme for 39 homes to get under way in April and a further 21 would follow at Chase Street, Wisbech.

Fenland would also benefit from the �13.6million scheme to deliver 47 homes now under way at Kingsfield school site, Chatteris.

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Across Fenland, said Mr Smith, Roddons had committed �32.4million for 11 schemes and totalling 268 homes.

Mr Smith got a warm reception from the scrutiny committee, explaining also the merits of a new Roddons shop to open on a trial basis in Edinburgh Drive, Wisbech.

“We intend to plant our flag in that part of Wisbech,” said Mr Smith, acknowledging that almost half the issues dealt with by Roddons came from the town.

“We’re dipping our toe in the water with this pilot scheme,” he said.

Roddons expects major issues to arise next April once a new cap is introduced by the Government on housing benefit whilst under occupancy rules come into force.

Mr Smith told councillors that �20 million had been spent on meeting the decent homes standards for Fenland’s 4,000 tenants. Of 32 promises made at transfer all bar two had been met.

Apart from new homes being built- caused by the economic crisis- Roddons had only failed on disabled adaptations but this was mainly due to getting occupational health therapists in to assess those in need. By next year even that issue would be resolved, he said.

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