Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London, Grampian Housing Association (GHA) is working with partner agencies, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to provide reassurance to our tenants and residents and provide safe homes.

We have no properties fitted with the external cladding used in London.  However, we fully expect changes in the law about fire safety in the future.  In the short term GHA is determined to ensure residents and visitors are safe in their homes by letting you know about what we currently do and the changes will be introducing to enhance fire safety.   

GHA will review procedures and policies based on the investigation by the fire service in London and will continue to work with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service colleagues locally to ensure our tenants and householders receive fire safety messages.

Our communal buildings will have the following: 

Weekly checks on smoke alarms (carried out by trained members of the Mobile Cleaning Team)

Block inspections every month

An annual Fire Risk Assessment carried out by a competent independent assessor

Information on every floor about evacuation procedures

An up-to-date Electrical Condition report

A program of servicing or checks for any safety equipment (fire panels, sprinkler systems etc)

Our tenants and homeowners in communal or factored buildings will receive a letter in the next few days offering assurances for their safety and outlining any planned procedural changes. The letter will outline requirements and responsibilities relating to keeping stairwells and fire escapes clear and the associated hazards of dumping potentially flammable materials in storage and communal areas.

The GHA contact number for tenants or residents with concerns is 01224 202900.

To book a FREE Home Fire Safety Visit and get fire safety advice specific to your home from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, call 0800 0731 999, text ‘FIRE’ to 80800, or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk.

 

 



 

 

Local Government and Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart MSP, officially opens new homes for rent by Grampian Housing Association and Let’s Choose

Grampian Housing Association and its subsidiary, Kirkgate Developments, are today celebrating the completion of their latest development of affordable homes, increasing the group’s portfolio of properties for rent throughout the North-east to more than 3,100.

It coincides with the launch of Let’s Choose, the new brand for Kirkgate’s properties for mid-market and market rent in preparation for future expansion of its services.

To mark the occasion, Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing is today (Friday) officially opening the 31 houses, a mix of 14 two and three bedrooms for social rent and 17 three bedroom houses for mid-market (below private sector) rent at Osprey Heights, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. The Minister will be meeting local residents who will directly benefit from additional affordable homes in the area and will be shown around the new development itself.

The minister will officially declare the affordable housing open, along with Norton Bertram-Smith, Chairman of Grampian Housing Association, Richard Dodunski, Chairman of Kirkgate Developments and Neil Clapperton, Chief Executive of Grampian Housing Association.

Grampian Housing Association received over £1.8million of funding from the Scottish Government, along with a grant of £65,000 from Aberdeenshire Council.

The £3.7 million development was completed in partnership with Barratt Homes and builds on the Association’s successful and long-standing relationship with the leading five-star housebuilder.

Greentrees Gardens in Inverurie provides 31 two and three bedroom houses aimed at families seeking affordable housing in the Aberdeen housing market area. In an earlier phase of the development 10 houses for social rent were built at Threave Circle, bringing the housing group’s total provision in Osprey Heights to 41 homes.

The development is part of Aberdeenshire Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Programme (SHIP) agreed with the Scottish Government. Osprey Heights contributes to Aberdeenshire Council’s aim to increase the supply of affordable housing to meet local housing need

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing, said: “I’m delighted that our investment has helped to make affordable housing a reality in this rural area. This latest development in Inverurie is a great example of how partnership working can deliver good quality homes that suit the needs of individuals - allowing them to remain within, and sustain, their communities.

“Affordable housing in the Aberdeen area is a priority and we’ll continue to work with local partners to deliver the much-needed affordable homes that people across the country need.”

Norton Bertram-Smith, chair of Grampian Housing Association, said: “We are working hard to lead the sector in the development of significant affordable homes in the Aberdeen housing market area. There is still work to be done, but today’s additional homes is another ambition realised.

“Grampian Housing Association is one of the three locally based Registered Social Landlords who are committed to contribute to the provision of up to 2,000 affordable and low cost homes in Aberdeenshire over the four year period, 2016 to 2020. The properties at Osprey Heights and at our other developments across Aberdeenshire built since 2015, will mean Grampian Housing Association starts its commitment by delivering a total of 91 new affordable homes by the end of 2017. More new homes will follow thereafter.”

Richard Dodunski, Chairman of Kirkgate Developments, said: “The launch of Let’s Choose is a milestone for Kirkgate Developments. The company is gearing up to offer wider services in the future and the Let’s Choose brand will give it a distinct image and capture the imagination of house seekers looking for quality affordable housing.”

“Many working households in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen are on moderate incomes and do not qualify for social housing but cannot afford to buy or rent in the private sector, resulting in limited housing options. In addition, in the current economic climate where a household’s income could be at risk, renting offers more security. Our homes for mid-market rent provide a solution for these households.”

Looking to the future, Grampian Housing Association and Kirkgate Developments are an important part of the regional mix to encourage economic development and support a healthy economy. The Scottish Government recognises that the supply of new affordable housing needs to be a high priority. The Grampian group is keen to support this by working with the public and voluntary sectors to bring forward affordable land for development, as well as private house builders and developers to source opportunities and seek funding to develop more social housing in the North-east.

Rob Simpson, head of housing, Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Increasing affordable housing remains a top priority for Aberdeenshire Council. The Osprey Heights development will further increase the range of housing available in the Inverurie area and we are pleased to work with partners in order to achieve this. Only by working with others will be able to deliver the housing required across Aberdeenshire.”

David Stewart, construction director, Barratt North Scotland said: “We are very pleased to have developed such a positive partnership with Grampian Housing Association and to continue our support for the communities in which we build.

“The new properties help to increase the number of low cost homes in Aberdeenshire and we very much look forward to playing our part in realising the Scottish Government’s new housing ambitions in collaboration with our Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partners in other areas of the North of Scotland too.”

Following recent feedback from customers regarding high mobile charges when calling the 0845 762 6345 repairs line, this number will cease to operate on 30 April 2017 and has been replaced with 0300 123 9279 with immediate effect.

The Association has moved to a 0300 number to allow all UK landline or mobile calls to be charged at a local rate to the customer. The additional costs to cover this service are 2p a minute which will be met by the Association. The revised numbers are listed below:

Repairs

Available during office open hours* for non-emergencies and 24 hours a day for emergencies only

0300 123 9279 / 01224 626345

 

TLC Housing Maintenance to bring benefits for tenants

TLC Housing Maintenance (TLC), has been launched today as a new subsidiary of Grampian Housing Association.

Initially TLC will be installing new kitchens and bathrooms and carrying out painter works in line with the Association’s aim to improve and maintain standards in tenants’ homes.

Although tenant satisfaction levels were already high with previous arrangements, TLC will give the Association more control over customer care, service quality and satisfaction. Most importantly, TLC will generate cost savings compared to using external contractors which will then be reinvested into providing more improvements to tenants’ homes.

A total of eleven new jobs are being created locally by TLC with the appointment of a general manager, trade supervisor, two electricians, three joiners, two painters, a plumber and administrator. TLC will also provide routes into employment and training by offering apprenticeships later next year.

Angela Thain, General Manager, TLC said:- “After months of preparation for the launch, it is great to see work underway fitting new kitchens from day one of the new company. The first year will see the commencement of a five year programme with 92 kitchen and 92 bathroom replacements being undertaken. We are committed to providing an excellent service to tenants. In future years we intend expanding the services we can offer to Grampian’s customers including reactive repairs and empty home maintenance when tenants move on.”

Natalie Moore, tenant said:- “It’s exciting to be one of the first tenants having their kitchen fitted by TLC and it was great to be able to choose my own colour of units. They hope to have work finished this week so I can’t wait to move back in and start enjoying my new kitchen.”

TLC is governed by voluntary Board members consisting of two new independent members, David Halliday and Mark Masson along with two Board members of Grampian Housing Association and an executive director.

Commenting on the launch of TLC, newly appointed Chairman, David Halliday said:- “I look forward to working with the Board and staff to ensure that the growth and reputation of TLC is a priority. We are acutely aware of the need to deliver value for money for the Association and its tenants. Any savings will enable more investment in the Association’s homes whilst also helping to keep rents affordable.”

The savings could enable the Association to fit 51 more kitchens or bathrooms in year one or undertake additional work required for compliance with EESSH (Energy Efficiency Standard for Scotland Housing) including improvements to loft and cavity wall insulation in properties.

Digitalising TLC is also a priority. Starting with scheduling, digitalisation will expand to communications with tenants to ensure their interactions with TLC are smooth, efficient and trouble free.

Please note that from 1 April 2017 you will no longer be able to pay your rent, occupancy payment, factoring/service charge or any other payment by cash in our offices.

If you still want to pay by cash you can sign up for an allpay card and use it at PayPoint outlets in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire & Moray.  Further details can be found at www.paypoint.ie/locator.  If you do not have internet access, please contact the Association on 01224 202900 (Aberdeen) or 01343 552779 (Elgin) and a Customer Service Officer can advise you of your local PayPoint outlet.

Other payment options include:

  • using your allpay card to pay by debit or credit card through online, phone, text or mobile App channels (for further information visit http://www.allpay.net/allpay-payment-app). 
  • asking us about setting up a Direct Debit or Standing Order
  • cheque

Please speak to a member of staff for further support on these alternative payment options.

Please note, unlike cash payments these other repayment options do not incur additional charges to our customers.

In January’s rent consultation survey it was proposed that the Association cease to accept cash payments as of 1 April 2017. Only 12 (4.4%) respondents indicated they pay cash at Grampian’s offices, of which four commented that this was their preferred method.

 

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