£6m social housing investment success

Monday June 3rd 2019

(left to right) Neil Edgar, Development Manager, Cathy Hanlan, Melville Housing tenant, and Andrew Noble, Chief Executive.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Work to improve the appearance and energy efficiency of social housing in Midlothian has been rewarded with record feedback in a major survey of customers.

Almost all tenants of Melville Housing Association surveyed (97%) are happy with the overall appearance of their neighbourhoods, testament to the recently completed £6 million energy efficiency programme. Taking seven years, the extensive work has seen more than a third (736) of Melville’s 2,033 homes fitted with the cladding that not only reduces heating costs but also extends the lifespan of homes and greatly improves their appearance.

In other findings, almost nine out of 10 (89%) Melville tenants said they are happy with the overall performance of Midlothian’s largest registered social landlord. The number of very satisfied tenants has increased by nearly a third since 2016 when the last independent survey of Melville households was carried out.

“We’re very pleased with the findings of this independent survey,” said Melville’s Chief Operating Officer Morag MacDonald. “We have continued to perform strongly across all areas of the business and, given the impact the built environment has on well-being, we are particularly pleased to see neighbourhood appearance score so highly.”

Staff and the level of care they provide also came in for particular praise with all areas of customer service scoring satisfaction levels in the high 90s. Researchers also quizzed tenants on rent levels, with eight out of 10 (79%) saying they felt Melville provided good value-for-money, a three per cent increase since the previous survey.

“We, like others in the social housing sector, are particularly focussed on both rent affordability and value-for-money,” continued Morag. “Given the work we’ve done in recent years, it was good to see satisfaction increase in these key areas.”

When asked about priorities for the future, alongside an effective repairs service, modern homes, affordable rents and support for vulnerable customers, the Melville tenants surveyed saw work on the external environment as important, as well as an increased focus on green issues and sustainability. Melville is actively pursuing a programme of actions to improve the sustainability of the services provided and was recently awarded a grant of £70,838 to deliver electric car share schemes across Midlothian.

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