Slough Borough Council have commissioned Bluesky to deliver a thermal image map of the borough. The aim was to build a detailed map that would reveal any outbuildings that could potentially be so called ‘beds in sheds’ – an illegally converted or newly built structures that are used as rental accommodation.
Council's head of environmental services and resilience, Ray Haslam, said: “The raw data we’ve received from Bluesky is very useful because for the first time it gives us an accurate figure of the number of outbuildings we have in the borough that we need to investigate.
“People may well be using their outbuildings for legitimate purposes, so we don’t want to rush into assumptions that they’re all being used for housing, but this certainly gives us a good starting point and we’ve already started investigative work.”
The aim is to ensure that any property used as a home (or, more to the point, as a rented accommodation) is legal, has a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and meets the minimum safety standards ensuring wellbeing of their residents.
The council has paid about £ 24,000 to Bluesky to carry out the mapping and it is believed that the council would look to recover the costs through the fines that are likely to follow once the investigations start.