Work is due to start on a major upgrade to five blocks of high-rise apartments in Stoke city centre.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is set to begin its programme of improvements to Wellington Court, Lindop Court, Westwood Court, St Luke’s Court and Seddon Court, which are all in Hanley.

The upgrades to the apartments off Bucknall New Road – which were built in the 1960s – will include a host of energy efficiency measures, plus new electrical wiring, entrance doors, signage and lighting.

The environmental upgrades will comprise new external wall insulation, windows and roofs. These are designed to prevent heat loss, maximise energy efficiency in the flats and improve the visual appearance of the blocks.

Colin Hanley has lived in Seddon Court for 31 years.  The 65-year-old said: “It is very expensive for a pensioner like me to live here. The refurb will cut down on my electric bills, which is great. I’m looking forward to seeing it all happen.  It will look very nice when it’s finished, giving me a better quality of life, so hopefully I’ll live longer!”

Work at each block of 46 flats will take around 30 weeks to be completed, with the preparation across the site beginning at the end of this month. This stage will involve fire safety improvements, the upgrade of communal electrics, the relocation of utility meters into individual flats and a new mains water feed.

Phase one of the main programme of works will then start at Seddon Court, which will include the new windows, roof, external wall insulation and improved external lighting.

Later phases will focus on the internal refurbishment of the flats and the area’s landscape and public realm (subject to future funding and planning applications).

The cost of the works is approximately £5,500,000 for all five blocks and will be allocated from the council’s Housing Revenue Account. It will be carried out by Kier Stoke.

Councillor Jack Brereton, the city council’s cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “The refurbishment of these high-rise apartments will result in significant improvements, not only for the residents who live there, but much wider too.  Investment in the appearance of the high-rises will be seen for miles around and will particularly improve the outlook for people visiting the city centre. This will complement the continued regeneration of Hanley and the whole city.”

Councillor Randy Conteh, the authority’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “The authority is investing millions of pounds to improve housing standards.  This major refurbishment project will improve energy efficiency, which should help to lower energy bills – saving residents money. At the same time, it will improve the visual appearance of the area, which is a significant gateway into the city centre.”