Council taking 57 days to complete housing repairs

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Concerns have been raised over a council’s ability to cut the length of time its properties are empty for.

Richmondshire District Council’s corporate board heard its properties needing minor repairs took an average of 57 working days to complete compared to the authority’s 17 working day target.

The meeting was told the target was “very challenging”, due to a shortage of trades people that was affecting the whole country.

The authority’s leader, Councillor Yvonne Peacock said there was a consensus over an ambition to reduce the length of time properties were empty for, but there was a clear shortage of skilled workers in Richmondshire.

Corporate director Colin Dales added: “In the current market conditions we cannot attract good quality staff in the numbers that we need them. The only option at this moment in time is to go to the market. Going to the market carries risk, and if that option does not work I’m not sure what we’ll do.”

Independent councillor Linda Curran questioned whether the council should employ workers directly to carry out repairs, rather than outsource.

She added: “It seems like this has gone on for ever and ever.

“It is so important because that is where we get a lot of our income and when we’re sitting with loads of empty properties it’s madness. There are people out there who want a home.”