Dramatic facelift for 200 rundown homes in Hull's Boulevard area
SOME of the oldest and most rundown housing in the city is undergoing a dramatic facelift.
Just over 200 Victorian terraced homes in west Hull are having external solid wall insulation installed.
The work is radically changing the look of Airlie Street, Albemarle Street and Aylsford Street, as well as a number of court terraces in the area near the former Boulevard rugby ground.
Many are also being brought back into use for the first time in years after being left in limbo following a multi-million pound property investment fraud.
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They are owned by investors who bought them at the height of the buy-to-let boom a decade ago.
The investment company involved in the deals was eventually wound-up in 2003 after a series of complaints from investors who were seeing no return on their money.
A subsequent investigation by the Serious Fraud Office led to five company directors being jailed.
The facelift work is being carried out by Hull City Council with a mix of local and national government funding, even though the properties are still privately owned.
Along with her husband Kenneth, Barbara Downs bought their house in Albermarle Street 43 years ago.
She said: "It was a lovely place in those days but things started going downhill about ten years ago.
"The work they are doing now is making such a difference.
"We have had the new insulation and have already noticed it's a lot warmer."
As part of the work, homeowners are being offered new boilers, central heating and loft insulation if they are required.
The wider project involving empty homes covers properties in the Boulevard area, as well as Wellsted Street in west Hull and Holland Street in east Hull.
Council officials are aiming to track down more than 150 owners, some of whom are believed to be investors based overseas.
Some of the properties will be offered for rent by the council through head leases agreed with their owners.
Others are being given to other organisations, including Hull housing charity Giroscope.
Councillor John Black, portfolio holder for housing, said: "The Newington and St Andrew's area of the city was identified as having some of the worst private housing stock in the country, compounded by properties left empty and a lack of investment by some property owners.
"The council and its partners in the voluntary, community and private sector have worked hard and successfully secured funding to help improve properties and bring others back into use in the Boulevard area.
"The council has put some of its own money to match fund schemes in the Boulevard area, including an energy efficiency improvement scheme, which will offer a package of efficiency measures best suited to the individual property.
"This will add value to the homes in the area, making them cheaper to run for those living in the properties.
"There has been a positive reaction to these works and a really high level of take-up."
The facelift work is being carried out by Hull construction firm Hobson and Porter.