Holbeck ‘approach’ improves local housing standards

An initiative to improve housing standards and target empty properties is being extended in Holbeck.

Having completed works to around half of the problem properties identified in the first phase of the scheme, the Leeds Neighbourhood Approach is now set to stay in Holbeck for at least another two years.

Housing and Police staff door knock in Holbeck
Housing and Police staff door knock in Holbeck

Targeting blocks of around 200 to 250 properties at a time, the council will be working with landlords, tenants, police and the fire service to make sure housing is of a good standard and that rented properties are well managed. In addition, the project is continuing to focus on empty properties to bring them back into use.

The Leeds Neighbourhood Approach team will be in the Recreations area on Wednesday 22 June. Council staff and partners will be on an information bus on Recreation Row from 10am to 3pm. Everyone is welcome to join the team to ask questions or discuss any issues they have in the area.

Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said:

“The Leeds Neighbourhood Approach is now a tried and tested method that is making significant improvements to properties and lives.

“Our commitment means the changes we’re seeing are being sustained. By getting to the heart of issues on a street-by-street basis, we can get involved in longer term projects and provide the support and services that are needed to create safe and welcoming communities.”

In the first round of property inspections in the Holbeck area, improvement works have been completed to half of the 190 properties seen. Work includes improving fire safety and electrics, heating, preventing falls and beefing up security.

Over 50 long term empty homes have been brought back into use. Some had been empty for up to 15 years and needed substantial improvements to turn them back into homes.

The Leeds Neighbourhood Approach team and partners have been doing walkabouts with residents and landlords to identify and tackle environmental issues quickly. Issues with 49 properties and 24 wider street problems have been addressed including fixing guttering, broken windows, pot holes, flytipping and dog fouling.

Bin yards have been improved and communal bins provided for 50 homes as part of a pilot project. The project’s aim is to remove bins off the street and to help stop flytipping in these locations.

A pop-up hub service offered advice to over 90 residents on housing issues, job and training opportunities, benefits and debt, drug and alcohol issues, saving energy and crime and fire prevention during September to December last year.

All residents are also offered these services as part of the property inspections with over 200 referrals made to partners since the Leeds Neighbourhood Approach launched in Holbeck last April.

The council has also set up the Holbeck Landlord Forum. This includes all housing providers and allows landlords and partners to discuss and raise issues they have in the area.

Properties being targeted in the extended Holbeck Leeds Neighbourhood Approach include homes on Recreation Street, View, Terrace, Place, Row and Crescent and Cleveleys Road, Avenue, Mount, Terrace and Street.