River Clyde Homes is growing after 10-year decline in housing stock
The number of occupied River Clyde Homes properties has increased for the first time after 10 years of reducing occupancy, figures recently collated for the forthcoming Annual Report on the Charter have shown.
Against a backdrop of a decade long population decline in Inverclyde the figures are the result of what has been a dramatic improvement to the existing housing and the range and quality of services delivered boosting demand and reducing the number of empty homes.
In 2008 at the point of stock transfer only 3% of homes met the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and Inverclyde had the highest rents in Scotland. A drive to improve homes and make rents affordable has contributed to the boost.
Major neighbourhood regeneration has taken place across Inverclyde and once unpopular areas are now much in demand. One notable project is the £26 million regeneration of the Broomhill area of Greenock. In December 2016 there were 192 empty properties while today that number sits at 48 (all of which are still being worked on). Contributory factors include the re-designation of some stock, innovative incentive schemes and new approaches to marketing of properties to audiences, including those outside of Inverclyde.
All homes in Broomhill have been thermally insulated, heating is run from a community bio-mass system; which has seen a majority of customers enjoy reduced energy bills. Last year, following the installation of the bio-mass) Broomhill tenants saved an average of 49% on their heating bills (average cash saving: £340) compared to the year previous year. New security features in the area and in buildings have added to its popularity.
Building new homes is supporting a new business plan for growth with up to 750 new homes in the pipeline over the next five years. This year alone will see 182 new homes at various stages of development.
Sandra McLeod, executive director of customer services at River Clyde Homes, said: “After years of declining numbers I am pleased to see that our efforts to promote growth and sustainability have seen an increasing number of customers enjoy the benefit of our housing offer. Our efforts to help people sustain their tenancies through a number of initiatives including a dedicated financial advice service have successful. Our vision statement is to ‘improve lives and places’ and all the evidence is pointing that our efforts are beginning to make a difference.”