Sunderland housing association face £2 million bill to repair storm damage

The Housing Association says it is working its way through a backlog in supplies to fix the damage Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A Sunderland housing association is facing a multi-million pound bill to repair storm-damaged properties.

In recent months, the region was battered by several extreme weather events, including Storm Arwen and Storm Malik, which caused damage to buildings and property.

Housing provider Gentoo Group say they have seen record calls during the several storm events since November 2021 and is currently working its way through a backlog of repairs.

While progress is being made to fix roofs and fences, Gentoo bosses have confirmed the cost of the storm damage repairs could reach £2 million.

"A massive amount of damage was caused to Gentoo properties as well as others in the region," said Nigel Wilson, chief executive officer at Gentoo Group.

"We have completed 2,500 roof repairs since November 2021, but we have got another 2,500 to go - there is literally not enough materials or contractors available to do it any quicker unfortunately.

"That is regrettable and that does cause a lot of dissatisfaction amongst tenants and we have had to triage it in terms of prioritising the worst damage first and then pick up the rest.

"It's not an easy thing but literally, Storm Arwen created the most damage and then the other storms just made it worse on the back of that.

"There has been a lot of communication with our tenants and residents about it […] and we're literally doing as much as we can but there's delays because of the contracting supply and the international shortage of materials."

The Gentoo chief was speaking at Tuesday's (March 8) meeting of Sunderland City Council's Economic Prosperity Scrutiny Committee, which was held at City Hall.

Mr Wilson went on to say: "We estimate currently that the storm damage will cost us between £1.5 million and £2 million pounds.

"That is unprovided for in terms of budgetary terms, you don't have a provision for seven storms in a matter of three months and I don't think many people would.

"So we have just got to find that money from within our resources in the best way we can."

Councillors heard that the north area of Sunderland was the worst hit by storms, due to the direction of wind and the age of some of the roofs.

On the back of damage to Gentoo properties, there have also been hundreds of reports of fences being blown down or damaged across the city.