Heath Town refurbishment scheme £11.4m over budget
A project to refurbish the Heath Town estate in Wolverhampton is more than £11 million over budget, it can be revealed.
The £120 million masterplan to transform the area, near to Bentley Bridge Retail Park, was set-up to tackle its decline.
But now figures have revealed additional safety measures have led to it increased costs of £11.4 million.
A spokesman for Wolverhampton Homes, which is leading the scheme on behalf of Wolverhampton Council, said: "The safety and wellbeing of residents is our top priority.
"Given the complexity and scale of the project, it was acknowledged that further work may be identified as progress was made with the regeneration of Heath Town.
"The increase to the overall budget is the result of additional works that are needed or have been recommended for the benefit of residents and for the long-term sustainability of the estate, thereby providing value for money."
Windows in the tower blocks were replaced after showing signs of deterioration, with the cladding – which was compliant – upgraded in a bid to reduce long-term costs and reduce disruption.
The cost over sprinklers being installed into tower blocks, new lighting and CCTV, have pushed up the cost.
And deck-access blocks on the estate have been upgraded with the fitting of "enhanced" fire doors inside the homes.
The spokesman added: "Following consultation with residents, it was recognised that personal safety was a key focus for people living in Heath Town.
"We addressed this by taking the decision to install new lighting and CCTV across the estate.
"These additions have been welcomed by residents and we expect it will have a positive impact on crime prevention in the Heath Town area."
Councillor Milkinder Jaspal, who represents the area, said: "Most of the residents I've spoken to are happy with the redevelopment.
"The double-glazing is just amazing, they were saying they can't hear the traffic on Wednesfield Road which they could before.
"The works there are long overdue and need to be done, but we're getting there now so that's to be welcomed.
"Health and safety issues have to take priority and there's a cost attached to that – but residents really are over the moon about it."
The additional funds for the project are expected to be signed off at a Wolverhampton Council meeting later today.