‘Terrific’ £250k upgrade for historic Matlock almshouses
Historic almshouses in Matlock have been upgraded after Derbyshire Dales District invested £250,000 in grant funding into an innovative improvement project.
The council is supporting the Harrison Almshouse Trust to renovate six bungalows in Causeway Lane next to the town's cricket ground.
Built in 1895, the bungalows have a low energy efficiency rating (EPC E) and needed investment to bring them up to modern standards (EPC B).
Energy efficiency improvements include 32 solar panels, insulated floors, triple glazed windows and doors, internal wall insulation, loft insulation, new boilers and heating controls.
The bungalows will also have new kitchens, walk in showers, new electrical installations and some changes to the internal layout.
Work began in December, and District Council Leader Councillor Garry Purdy, who visited the bungalows last week, said: "This is a terrific upgrade for historic homes many of us drive past on a regular basis.
“All of the trades that have worked on the scheme are from the local area, which helps to ensure the District Council’s investment benefits the wider community, and this renovation programme is the first in a series of projects with several other almshouses in the Derbyshire Dales that will see similar work taking place over the next few years.”
The bungalows are close to many of Matlock’s facilities, including shops, places of worship and the beautiful Hall Leys Park.
In recent years the Trustees saw the very urgent need to bring the cottages up to modern day standards and maintenance of the cottages became more expensive and more frequent, depleting the limited funds held.
When the District Council’s Director of Housing Rob Cogings heard that one of the cottages had become vacant and was no longer fit for purpose he contacted the Trustees, offering assistance.
Said Mr Cogings: “We saw an opportunity to completely renovate all six cottages, something the Trustees could not have achieved by themselves.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the way this project is taking shape.”
A spokesperson for the Trustees added: “We have always been proud to continue Margaret Harrison’s aspirations to enable members of the local community to live comfortably and affordably in a Harrison Almshouse cottage.
“The Trustees are extremely grateful to the District Council, particularly Rob, who has secured all the funding, and Hope Design for project managing the renovations.”
Father Brian Smith, on behalf of Matlock Town Council, said: “The Trustees have always been conscious of their duty to maintain Margaret Harrison’s gift to the community, and to raise the accommodation provided to modern standards as is from time to time required, and as funds became available.
“Over many years Matlock Town Council has been supportive of the
trustees' work, often providing welcome finance, and we are grateful that Derbyshire Dales District Council, with its greater resource base, has enabled us substantially to upgrade these buildings, and provide an enhanced quality of living for current and future residents.”
Local design and project management company Hope Design drew up the programme of improvements, tender for the works and oversee all activity on site.
A spokesperson said: “Our approach provides a turnkey solution that
ensures quality through each stage of the renovation. These cottages will showcase how older properties can be sympathetically upgraded to protect their heritage whilst providing modern living that includes energy efficiency.”