RESIDENTS in a Peeblesshire village are feeling the benefits after housing association bosses acted on long-running complaints with a package of improvements.

Eildon Housing tenants at Hawdene, Broughton, faced a litany of problems in their homes, including rotting wooden windows, mould, ceiling cracks and inadequate heating.

Work started on installing solar panels on all homes and fitting air source heat pumps in January.

That is now complete, with householders already seeing a massive reduction in bills.

In the coming weeks further work will see double-glazed windows and doors replaced.

Hawdene resident Jim McBeth, 55, said: “Speaking to everybody, they are all happy.

“My electricity has gone from a direct debit of £286 to £82 per month and most of the time I am on solar, and in the winter time it will be on solar till about 11am.

“The difference in the cost of the electricity is massive and the difference it has made to the house is huge too.”

He added: “I am saving £200 a month – that is £2,400 a year and it is absolutely unreal how much warmer it has made the house.

“Some people said they can turn the heating down and open windows, which is a good thing because that is what you are meant to do in these houses to get the air moving through.”

In August last year, residents invited the three Tweeddale West councillors – Viv Thomson, Eric Small and Drummond Begg – and the Peeblesshire News to see the problems they were experiencing.

Mr McBeth said in winter the wind comes down the valley, with the temperature dropping to as low as -16°C.

He is hoping the changes will make a huge difference.

Mr McBeth said: “They have given us battery storage in the loft connected on 4G, the data is sent and if there is any full someone comes out without us calling.

“It is a great system, although I was a bit shocked when I found out it costs £25,000 per home.”

Five properties have also had air quality monitors fitted. The monitors can even tell if the property is empty because of carbon dioxide levels.

With the new systems, Mr McBeth said: “I am looking forward to the winter instead of dreading it as this system is superb.”