HEATING costs for social housing tenants could be reduced in a £25 million project to improve insulation.

Ascham Homes, the organisation which manages housing on behalf of Waltham Forest Council, claims to be the first such body in the country to bring the benefit to residents by starting an 'energy partnership' with its repair work contractor Osborne and British Gas.

Around 1,000 people could benefit immediately from the project, increasing to more than 5,000 over the course of the scheme.

The improvements will include enhanced loft and cavity wall insulation before more complex works such as upgraded heating systems, external wall insulation, and more "thermally efficient" glazing are carried out.

Deputy chief executive of Ascham Homes Jo Murphy said: "The beauty of the proposed partnership is that it will be strategic and longer term so that we can identify the best solution that meets the real needs of our properties and residents on a planned and co-ordinated basis.

"We believe this will bring significant extra resources to benefit the housing stock and our residents, as well as making a substantial contribution to the opportunities for local residents through training, employment and increased economic activity in the borough."

Clifford Robnett, who lives in an Ascham Homes-managed home in Ropers Avenue, Chingford, said a reduction in his hetaing bill would make a huge difference to his life.

The 83-year-old said: "It would be great. I'm soon 84 and I'm no young chicken. I get colder in the evenings a lot more easily so it would be excellent if I wasn't paying loads to keep myself warm.

"I spend about £30 a week on heating and on my pension that's very expensive. This would mean I could stay warmer and also have a bit more money for food and other things."


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