£2.5m earmarked to fight fuel poverty and improve housing
- Credit: Wendy Fredericks
Millions of pounds will be invested in improving north Norfolk's housing and help fight the problem of fuel poverty.
Cabinet members on North Norfolk District Council have voted to spend £2.5m on the plan. Part of the money will be spent on employing a new 'energy officer' to advise residents on making their homes more energy efficient to help offset rising fuel costs.
It comes as this newspaper and its sister titles across Norfolk have launched a There With You This Winter campaign to help support people through the colder months and and find ways of keeping rising fuel costs at bay.
Wendy Fredericks, the council's portfolio holder for housing and benefits, said: "It’s important to stress this funding comes from grants and existing reserves and will not cost the North Norfolk council taxpayers anything extra."
Figures show north Norfolk has more than 7,800 households where the residents cannot afford to fuel their homes as the winter months draw near - a figure which Ms Fredericks said was "set to rise".
She said: "At the same time CO2 emissions from domestic properties represent nearly 30pc of carbon emissions in the district.
"By employing the skills of a new energy officer to improve energy efficiency for households, reduce fuel poverty and CO2 emissions."
Ms Fredericks said some of the money would pay for the conversion of shared ownership new build properties into affordable rental homes, which were "desperately needed" across the district.
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She added: “Rather than keeping hold of housing reserves we want to use them to improve homeless services in the district.
"NNDC have already bought 13 units of temporary accommodation, with three more in the pipeline. These are the only homes the council holds.
"Normally homeless households would be placed in expensive bed and breakfast accommodation.
"This can have a detrimental effect on wellbeing, work opportunities and be out of the reach of local schools and support networks. People services teams support and facilitate a more permanent housing solution.”
The council is also reorganising its staff.
Those working in the departments: benefits, housing options, housing adaptions and health and communities will now work under a 'people services' banner, with the aim of improving its performance.