PLANS to invest more than a quarter of a billion pounds to improve council houses across the borough are expected to be approved by council chiefs next week.

Dudley Council plans to spend £194 million from now up until 2023 and a further £58 million in the new financial year.

£33 million will be spent on building new council houses and £40million will be invested in bringing empty homes back into use.

A further £19million will go into tackling fuel poverty, by improving insulation and replacing doors, windows and heating systems.

The regeneration of communities is earmarked £11 million, while £22 million will be used to help people to live independently, by improving sheltered housing, adaptations and telecare services.

Members will also be asked to approve a further £58million which is earmarked for the day-to-day management of properties and general repairs and maintenance.

Council tenants can also expect a reduction in their rents of 1% in line with government recommendations, if plans are approved by the cabinet.

Councillor Keiran Casey, cabinet member for housing and residents welfare, said: "We take our responsibility as a landlord seriously and are committed to continuing to raise standards to improve our council homes and striving to make Dudley a borough, which is a leader in good quality housing.

"This package of investment will allow us to continue to raise standards and also crucially allow us to look at a programme of building more homes for local people.

"In the meantime our tenants will also benefit from a reduction in their rents.”

The report will be put to the cabinet on February 11.