Pledge over Norwich council homes kitchen upgrades

Families in Norwich waiting to get their kitchens upgraded following the collapse of Connaught have been assured the backlog will be cleared within three months.

Some 300 workers lost their jobs last autumn when Exeter-based Connaught Partnerships, which had been awarded a �17.5m a year contract by Norwich City Council to fix and maintain 18,500 council homes, went into administration.

Work Connaught was supposed to do to improve and upgrade 440 kitchens and bathrooms was not done, so the council awarded an interim contract to Lovell, based in Thorpe Road, to do that work.

However, some families are still waiting for upgrades and the issue was raised this week at a full meeting of Norwich City Council. Ruth Makoff, Green councillor for Wensum ward, asked how the council planned to tackle the 'significant delays to the kitchen upgrade programme.'

Victoria MacDonald, cabinet member for housing, said the backlog would be cleared within months.

She said: 'The kitchen upgrade programme is a political priority for the Labour group and it is an issue which we know is important to tenants.'

Lovell was required by the council to complete the 440 kitchens and bathrooms which had not been upgraded by Connaught and to complete a further 353 kitchens and bathrooms.

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Mrs MacDonald said: 'I am pleased to report that Lovell are currently installing new kitchens and bathrooms across the city and by September they will be delivering the work in accordance with the previously agreed spend profile and delivery schedules. The backlog will be cleared at that stage.'

The city council this week defended its approach to finding long-term successors to run the contracts previously held by Connaught, in the face of criticism from the Green party.

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