Brighton and Hove’s senior housing schemes are set to get a facelift in a bid to encourage older people to downsize from council homes.
Almost one in ten of the city’s council tenants are over the age of 55 and live alone in general stock council dwellings with between two and five bedrooms – 1,090 people or 8.9 per cent of all council tenants.
A survey earlier this year asked tenants what more could be done to persuade them to move into Brighton and Hove City Council’s 23 seniors housing schemes
A report going before the council’s Housing Committee says some of the schemes, which were built between the 1960s and 1990s, and no longer meet good design standards.
Some are unsuitable for frail people and the disabled and others are described as appearing “unattractive or institutional”.
In the consultation, held in February and March this year, some said they want video door entry systems for individual homes and mobility scooter storage.
And others said they were put off by restrictions on keeping pets there.
The report says money would need to be set aside for an improvement programme as well as officers seeking other funding opportunities such as Homes England’s Care and Support Fund.
It said: “Good older peoples housing will help those looking to downsize or move from general stock housing, in turn releasing much needed properties to let.
“It should make our schemes easier to let, in turn improving performance and rental income.”
At the moment seniors housing takes on average 51 days to re-let, compared with 26 for general housing stock.
This resulted in £76,000 in lost rent and £50,000 in lost council tax from unlet properties.
The council has already had an independent consultant from Design South East visit each scheme in an effort to improve communal areas, corridors and the outsides of buildings.
Private areas, guest facilities and security were also considered.
Before work takes place further consultations would be carried out with people living in senior housing.
Housing Revenue Account budget proposals in the report include £150,000 for decorating and carpeting. Also £200,000 for work on communal spaces and entrance lobbies.
The council’s housing schemes provide 876 homes, made up from 232 studios, 553 one-bedroomed , 90 two-bedroomed and one three bedroomed home.
These are mainly flats but there are 43 bungalows. Three new flats are being built at Elwyn Jones Court and Woods House.
The Housing Committee meets at Hove Town Hall from 4pm on Wednesday 13 November.
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