Edinburgh aerialReducing the cost of living for tenants and building more affordable homes have been identified as the key elements to a new raft of objectives to improve housing in Edinburgh.

A nine-point action plan for the next decade was approved for further consultation by the City of Edinburgh Council’s health, social care and housing committee this week.

The City Housing Strategy Update report outlines the significant progress made on the strategy so far as well as confirming the new action plan:

  1. Build at least 16,000 more affordable and low cost homes by investing nearly £2 billion in their delivery.
  2. Accelerate housing development on public sector sites and investment in other public service priorities in the city and region.
  3. Use the council’s compulsory intervention powers where sites are not being developed quickly enough.
  4. Set out a clear plan for investing up to £300 million in new services to support integrated health and social care services for people with complex and deteriorating health needs.
  5. Ensure investment in new homes and modernise existing homes to reduce the cost of living for people on low to moderate incomes who live in them.
  6. Develop ways in which housing and other related services can have a visible local presence on the ground in the communities in which their customers live.
  7. Ensure that planning, investment and economic strategies set at regional and national level support the delivery of an improved housing system for the city.
  8. Improve placemaking by ensuring that housing led investment is integrated more effectively with other investment and service development to improve surrounding neighbourhoods and communities.
  9. Secure better education, training and job opportunities for tenants by making better use of the significant investment planned over the next 10 years.

The 10 year plan builds on work already well under way in the area. This week work began on the Shrubhill affordable housing development where more than 370 new homes will be built. It is the latest of seven major sites in Edinburgh delivering almost 900 affordable homes unlocked for development through National Housing Trust.

Strides have also been made in reducing the cost of living for tenants including the launch of a discount scheme where tenants are now able to use their rent payment cards to access discounts on a wide range of products in seven different locations across the city.

The significant investment already committed to house building is an unprecedented opportunity to transform areas of the city and also offers an opportunity to strengthen joint working between housing and health and social care partners to develop homes and integrate services in a more planned and strategic way.

Cllr Cammy Day, housing leader at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Approving this vision for further consultation is great news not just for our tenants and future tenants but for the city as a whole. Inequality, high housing costs, and high levels of need and demand are ongoing challenges that the council has to tackle.

“This report shows the fantastic work being done so far in meeting our overall aims for housing in Edinburgh which is increasing the number of affordable and low cost homes in the city and reducing the cost of living for tenants.

“It is a challenge faced in many cities but Edinburgh is working well with our partners. The extent of investment in new affordable and low cost homes, coupled with the strategy to reduce the cost of living for tenants, provides an excellent opportunity for the city to achieve better community benefits and more employment and training opportunities for communities and tenants.”