Around 3,000 council properties in Gateshead are in need of repair, it has been revealed.
The backlog of repairs accumulated, according to council officers, is down to the Covid pandemic and weather events such as Storm Arwen. However, officers reassured councillors that repair jobs are progressing and the housing maintenance team have completed over 3,000 other repairs in the backlog since June 7.
Ian Mclackand, Gateshead Council’s service director repairs and building services, said: “In relation to the repairs backlog, we are just over halfway through that now. All the Storm Arwen roofing repairs will be complete, I’m touching wood here, by the end of this week.
“They should all be done. There are no emergency or urgent repairs outstanding at this point in time.
“We do still have about 45% of the backlog outstanding but the key areas have been addressed.”
Mr Mclakcland said some repair jobs may not have been logged as being related to the storm, but confirmed tenants with vulnerabilities had been prioritised.
Gateshead Council aims to complete the backlog by late March next year. A total of 26 contractors and three council teams are now assigned to help reduce the remaining repair backlog.
The contractors are currently repairing seven properties a week. Council tenants can also be offered evening appointments for repairs from 4:30pm.
A heavy recruitment drive is also under way in the local authority’s repairs and maintenance department with more than 100 posts still vacant.
The department is on the lookout for more callhandlers and building technicians. Repair officers maintain more staff are needed to support customers and to improve the number of “right first-time” repairs.
The local authority also hopes to reduce its reliance on “non-specialist” contractors in the long run.