Scottish Borders agrees plan for more than 1,000 affordable homes
More than 1,000 new affordable homes across the Scottish Borders could be delivered over the next five year period, according to a newly approved plan.
The latest Scottish Borders Council Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP), which is submitted annually to the Scottish Government, was approved by the council’s executive committee yesterday.
It is anticipated that the large majority of the homes would be delivered by local registered social landlords.
In addition to outlining the potential delivery of affordable housing, including how and where these could be delivered, the rolling five year plan also sets out investment priorities and identifies the resources required and potential innovative funding and procurement solutions. It also includes regeneration projects, including a £21.5 million housing-led project planned by Waverley Housing in Upper Langlee.
In the next two years, it is estimated that approximately 751 new affordable homes could be delivered, and up to 1,047 overall by the end of 2024, including several extra care housing developments. This assumes any land and infrastructure challenges are resolved and that the constructions sector has the capacity to deliver the projects. It is also based on assumed funding from the Scottish Government, partner private sector borrowing and the use of the council’s affordable housing budget.
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “As a council we are determined to support the delivery of much needed affordable homes across the area. This helps young people stay and work in the area, have families and put down roots here. That has a significant, long term positive impact on our local economy.
“More than 1,000 affordable homes would go a long way to meeting housing needs in our communities over the next five years and would also help support the local construction sector, providing a further boost to the economy.
“It is an ambitious plan and there are certainly some challenges, from land supply to funding, but we continue to work very closely with a range of partners, including registered social landlords and the Scottish Government, to maximise opportunities to deliver more affordable homes.”
Waverley Housing’s project, which focuses on Beech Avenue, Hawthorn Road, Larch Grove and Laurel Grove, will see 115 new homes built over several phases, in addition to the refurbishment of some existing homes. The demolition of some existing housing blocks will be required as part of the scheme.
At yesterday’s committee meeting, councillors agreed to provide a grant of up to £300,000 from the council’s affordable housing budget as a contribution towards Waverley Housing’s costs of acquiring six privately owned flats in Upper Langlee. This budget is topped up annually with around £710,000 from second homes council tax income.
A report to the executive committee revealed that similar steps were taken to support Scottish Borders Housing Association to acquire eight privately owned flats to facilitate the Stonefield regeneration in Hawick.
Councillor Rowley said: “Waverley Housing has exciting plans for this important residential area of Galashiels and I am pleased that the council has been able to provide further support to help unlock this regeneration project which will be funded by various partners.”
David Gordon, chair of Waverley Housing, added: “We continue to work closely with a range of partners and our tenants and other Upper Langlee residents to develop final plans for this multi-million pound regeneration scheme.
“We are delighted that the council has made this commitment today, and that we have its ongoing support for the overall project. The ongoing support and involvement of the Langlee Residents Association is also vital to the project and we will continue to provide regular updates on the progress of our plans.”
All images provided courtesy of Camerons Architects.