A major new programme of building bungalows for the elderly has been unveiled by bosses at Sandwell Council to help ease problems of under-occupancy in borough homes.
The authority will start building 50 two-bedroom bungalows from next month in areas such as Smethwick and Greets Green in West Bromwich.
It will mean elderly people currently living in larger homes can vacate them for more needy families. Sandwell Council’s housing councillor Simon Hackett said some elderly couples in the area want more than one bedroom because they like to have grandchildren and other family to visit.
He said: “We have a two-bedroom bungalow programme and in April we will start building 50 of these.
“They will be offered to people locally, those who are already living nearby.”
The scheme is designed to get couples moved out of large homes that could potentially house bigger families.
Councillor Hackett has also said the improvement work being carried out to council properties under the Decent Homes programme will be finished despite cuts from the Government.
“We will be finishing off around 7,000 houses in Sandwell,” he said. “Later this year there will be three contractors in different parts of Sandwell working on this. We will start later this year and finish in early 2016.
“We will also be looking at insulation and double glazing, and over time everyone will be moved to double glazing.”
It is the latest boost for tenants in the borough. The council has already announced plans to carry out improvement works to four tower blocks as part of a multi-million pound revamp, and a planning application has been submitted.
The authority is spending £67 million on refurbishing tower blocks in the borough by 2022. The first blocks will be in the Charlemont Farm area of West Bromwich. They are Beaconview, Broome, Stanton and Sheapcoate House in Beaconview Road.
Renovation works include replacement doors, windows, front and rear entrances, new roofs and insulated render covering to the external blocks.
Meanwhile, in West Bromwich, the £20 million Eastern Gateway scheme is also being built.
The scheme includes new houses, apartments and a three-storey office block, with shops on the ground floor.