North Ayrshire Council increases its social housing commitment
The council’s cabinet has approved the bold proposal which aims to increase affordable housing provision as well as provide a shot in the arm for the North Ayrshire economy.
Last year, the council increased its target of building 500 new homes across North Ayrshire by 250.
However, cabinet members have increased that target further by expanding the programme to deliver an additional 250 houses within the next five years, bringing the number of new build social housing to 1000.
Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “We want to invest in our residents and their future, as well as playing our part in helping to reverse the decline in the availability of social housing.
“We are all aware that too many people are being priced out of the housing market so this is our commitment to our residents to do what we can to give more people the opportunity to live in a high-quality and, most importantly, affordable home.”
Councillor Jim Montgomerie, cabinet member for place, added: “We want to invest in our residents and their future. As well as providing general needs housing, these new properties will ensure that tenants with a range of needs, including older people and families with complex requirements, are also catered for.
“In addition to reducing waiting lists, our house-building programme will also make a significant contribution to the local economy through investment and jobs.”
The additional 250 houses are expected to be funded through a mix of Scottish Government grants, prudential borrowing and reserves.
After applying a very small increase to rent levels to help accommodate the costs of the new build programme, North Ayrshire residents are expected to continue to benefit from the lowest rents of any Ayrshire council or registered social landlord. Rent levels are also expected to remain well below the Scottish average.
The expanded housing programme has been included in the council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2018-2023, which will shortly be submitted to the Scottish Government for approval.
The SHIP strategy sets out how investment in social housing will be directed over a five-year period to achieve the outcomes in the Local Housing Strategy.
Working alongside Registered Social Landlords, the blueprint sets out a series of potential projects in every locality across North Ayrshire.
As well as setting out details about the new social housing developments to be created by the council, the SHIP also highlights more than 500 new properties to be created by includes projects proposed by Cunninghame Housing Association, Irvine Housing Association and Trust Housing Association.
The Strategic Housing Investment Plan also contains details of a range of projects that are at various stages, including ongoing sheltered housing projects – such as Glencairn House, Stevenston, and Dickson Court in Beith – which reflect the requirement for a wide range of property types to meet the different needs of residents, including wheelchair and amenity housing.