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Kier to start work on '£1 homes'

Construction group Kier is to begin work on a major new regeneration scheme in Stoke, which will allow people to buy homes for just £1.Successful applicants to the scheme must take out a loan of £30,000 to cover refurbishment work. Kier is to carry out £1 million of internal and external renovations, including chimney works, roof repairs, replacement doors and windows and floor and stair repairs on 33 empty properties.Some 20 local subcontractors will be involved in work to replace heating systems, wiring, kitchens and bathrooms in the properties.Applicants will repay the loan over ten years. Their monthly payments will be significantly lower than they would be were they to rent a property in the same area.Stoke City Council pioneered the scheme, with the aim of regenerating the Cobridge neighbourhood, which has been blighted by metal thieves and squatters.Kier provides repairs and maintenance to more than 19,000 properties in Stoke-on-Trent and will be able to use its local knowledge while working on the project.Kier Stoke service manager, Robert Burt, said: "Kier is dedicated to working hard for the communities it serves and we are proud to be involved in this pioneering scheme, which promises to create new neighbourhoods and bring an abandoned community to life."Our years of local knowledge and expertise make us perfect for this role and we have employed 20 local subcontractors to carry out all kinds of work, from damp-proofing to wall tiling."Some 40 applicants have already been approved out of more than 600 who applied during the first two rounds. They do so on the agreement that they will stay in the properties for at least five years to support the community regeneration project.Stoke resident Teresa Poxon, whose application has been approved, said the scheme would provide her and her husband with security - they would have been unable to take out a mortgage.Stoke-on-Trent is located in the West Midlands - an area which made headlines this week when the National Housing Federation (NHF) said it faces a housing crisis.According to the NHF, less than half of the homes needed just to house new households are being built in the region. 

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