East_Renfrewshire_aerialA commitment to deliver almost 693 affordable homes across East Renfrewshire over the next five years has been approved by councillors.

The Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2018/19 – 2022/23 sets out the strategic investment priorities for the coming years.

According to the strategy, the creation of 693 social housing units for rent will be delivered in two phases, with 544 planned in the first three years, and the remaining 149 properties to be completed in years four and five.

As part of the SHIP a number of affordable properties for sale are also expected, which would largely be delivered through developer contributions.

In addition, to meet the changing needs of the area’s residents around 10% of the new units will be suitable for specific requirements, such as for the elderly or wheelchair users.

All local authorities are required to develop SHIPs annually and they are key documents as part of the Scottish Government’s plan to create 50,000 affordable homes in Scotland by 2021.

In 2016/17 twenty two properties were purchased by East Renfrewshire Council and Barrhead Housing Association directly from the market to increase housing supply. The SHIP programme continues to include the possibility of market purchase to increase the supply of affordable homes.

The council house build project is also moving with momentum following approval in 2016.

Councillor Danny Devlin, convenor for housing and maintenance, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to commit to providing almost 700 additional social housing units through our SHIP. We are absolutely committed to providing great quality homes for our residents and this investment will ensure we continue to deliver.

“In addition to our SHIP we’re also planning improvements in how we let our homes through our proposed Homeseeker service, which will make the process easier and more transparent.

“It is fantastic to see such investment in developing our housing stock, in particular our ambitious house building programme, and I look forward to seeing how this work progresses over the coming months.”

Construction on the first sites will commence in early 2018, with homes set to be available in late 2018. This first phase of construction includes sites at Robertson Street and Fenwick Drive in Barrhead, followed by a third site at Blackbyres Court, Barrhead.