New social homes in King’s Lynn and Downham Market could be insulated to tackle noise Asbos
Noisy neighbours could be a thing of the past as a West Norfolk social landlord looks to build homes with extra soundproofing in a bid to curb complaints about anti-social behaviour.
Last year, the number of anti-social behaviour cases dealt with by Freebridge Community Housing stood at 306 – down from 562 in the previous year.
But Tony Hall, chief executive of the housing association, believes this number could be drastically reduced if new homes are soundproofed.
He said: 'What we are currently doing is talking to people who have been through the anti-social behaviour process to see what worked for them and what didn't.
'We are also using mediation more and trying other ways to avoid having to go to court, which ultimately could lead to eviction.
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'As a housing provider, I believe we have failed if we have to remove someone from a property. Equally we need to ensure we are designing and building good quality housing with good quality thermal and noise insulation – something we are actively looking to do for new homes.'
The housing association's annual report has been released and has revealed customer satisfaction rose year-on-year to 88.2pc from 84.3pc.
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Meanwhile, the total number of complaints at Freebridge, which owns and manages some 6,800 homes, was down from 84 to 65. But with the average weekly rent increasing by 35p last year to �64.45 a week and further increases not being dismissed, complaints may rise this year.
Defending the increase, Mr Hall continued: 'We are increasing rents to ensure we have money to build new homes because the message from the Homes and Communities Agency is we need to start preparing for life without government grants.
'We are going to have to get more out of our assets and this will impact our tenants, particularly with any future squeeze on benefits, but what we are also thinking about are ways of minimising the impact on them.
'One element is to try and get people back into work where there are opportunities but the other is making sure our houses are as energy efficient as possible.
'We are looking at ways in which we can do super-insulation and install more efficient heating systems so we really reduce those energy costs.'
Among its aims for the coming year, Freebridge hopes to build 24 housing units, reduce the response time for complaints and establish a tenant panel.