£20m work starts on botched Wolverhampton council house extensions

A £20 million scheme to repair hundreds of botched extensions which were carried out on council homes in Wolverhampton has begun.

The city council and its housing company Wolverhampton Homes has agreed to repair defective work carried out in the 1970s and 1980s.

A total of 374 properties, mostly in the Low Hill area, had internal toilets and bathrooms added as extensions.

The extensions were dubbed 'pods' but the roof beams and tiles were later found to be too heavy for the supporting walls.

A handful of the homes on Fourth Avenue are currently empty and work to repair them is being carried out first with workers now on the site.

Once they are completed the council says it will know exactly what work is needed and the potential disruption it may cause to householders.

Residents will also be able to go and see what the completed repair work on the empty homes looks like.

City council spokeswoman Mel Ryan said: "Before we embark upon a major programme to repair defective extensions to houses in the Low Hill area, it's important that we test out different ways of repairing them.

"We are currently repairing void properties in line with these options.

"Once they are finished, they will then be opened as show homes giving local tenants and councillors a better idea of how they will look and feel.

"After this period of viewing and consultation, the empty properties will be let."

It emerged earlier this year that residents may have to move out of their homes into properties which had been deliberately left empty while the work is carried out.

Of the 374 homes affected by the extension work, 111 have since been bought privately under right to buy.

The council has not yet decided whether it will repair those homes as well.

The problem with the extensions was first spotted while homes in Low Hill were being worked on as part of the city-wide Decent Homes improvement scheme which has seen almost £400m spent on properties over the past six years.

Revamps and repairs to bathrooms were immediately halted in the area after the discovery was made.

Wolverhampton Homes, which manages the city's council housing, asked for help from the Government to help pay for repairs.

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