Bradford council renovates two homes and teaches residents how to improve their own

A Yorkshire council is doing up two houses in a run down area to inspire locals to improve their homes.

Bradford Council and housing association Accent are spending £220,000 on the large Victorian terrace and a smaller back-to-back house in Manningham.

The scheme is part of housing market renewal plans, which are designed to boost the values of homes in areas of low demand.

Adam Varley, empty homes and housing renewal team manager at the council, said the scheme was also intended to ensure that people in Manningham did not feel left out when a nearby mill was turned into luxury flats. He added: “It is to encourage people to invest in their properties and make them more modern rather than moving to a modern type of house or leaving the area altogether.”

He said the area has “outstanding” Victorian architecture, which is a legacy of Bradford’s past as a wealthy mill town, despite being one of the poorest areas of the city.

manningham 1

Loans not grants

He said the scheme was intended to get people to invest in their homes. “It is to move away from that grant culture of the past where let your house got to wrack and ruin and then get a grant from the council,” he said. “It is poor area but there are people who will have a considerable amount of equity in their property so it is about encouraging people to invest some of that in the property.” He said the council would encourage them to take out commercial loans or equity loans with the council which would be repaid when the house was sold.

manningham 3

Energy saving

The council have hired architects Green Cities to renovate the homes.

Sabine Engelhardt, principal of the practice, said they would insulate the walls, ceilings and floors of the houses. The walls will be covered in expanded foam and a layer of plasterboard while the floors and ceilings would use eco wool, which is made from milk bottles. She said: “We haven’t calculated the energy saving but it is better than building regulations require so it will be above that of a new build.”

Water saving measures include a dual flush toilet and water saving bath tub, which she estimates will reduce water consumption by 10 per cent. The architects would like to have included more water savings measures but were restricted by budget.

The kitchen of the back-to-back will become a bedroom, the kitchen-diner will be on the first floor and a bedroom will be created under the roof.

The larger house will get a balcony on its extension from the first floor bedroom.The renovation work will be complete in December.

Manningham 2

Changing rooms

Next the council will conduct its own version of TV show “Changing Rooms”. Local residents, mainly Asian women, are being trained in basic interior design by local not for profit organisation Artworks and community facility the Millan Centre. The students will redesign one room of the house. The course covers furniture restoration, decorating and soft furnishings.

The council bought one of the homes, which it will give to Accent once it is renovated, and Accent already owns the other property. Both will let out as affordable housing when the project is over. The council has put £120,000 of funding into the scheme while Accent contributed £100,000.