Dundee secures £1.5m of vacant and derelict land funding

DundeeMore than £1.5m of funding has been secured this financial year to boost Dundee City Council-led projects regenerating vacant and derelict land.

Councillors will be told next week that £1,576,109 from the Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Fund (VDLF) will be spent on ten projects spread across the city.

Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said: “This cash will help to deliver schemes throughout Dundee that will tackle long term vacant and derelict land, stimulate economic growth and improve people’s quality of life.

“In one sense it is disappointing that since the rules have been changed Dundee will not qualify for similar funding from next year but it does show that the money we have been given has been spent wisely and the amount of vacant and derelict land in the city has been reduced and put to good use.”

Since it was introduced in 2004 almost £17m of VDLF money has been spent in Dundee.

The city was one of five areas that qualified for funding which has been used for a wide variety of projects including the regeneration of Stobswell and Lochee, work at the Central Waterfront and to clear sites in preparation for redevelopment.

The city development committee, which meets on Monday (October 27), will be asked to approve VDLF spending on projects at Whorterbank, Maxwelltown, Menzieshill, Whitfield, Douglas Seabraes, Panmurefield and the Central Waterfront.

Councillors are also set to discuss plans for dozens of new council houses in the city.

More than £14 million could be invested should the committee back the new Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) which sets out Dundee City Council housing department’s investment priorities for the next five years.

The first council houses for around 20 years were completed at Ann Street/Nelson Street in Spring 2013 and since then four more developments have got underway in Mill O’Mains, Whitfield and Lochee.

The SHIP has been developed through a series of meetings with representatives of the council and Registered Social Landlords who put forward proposed development sites and the type of housing they wanted to see on it.

A set of criteria for development was produced and as well as focussing on the regeneration areas the plan also recognises the need for improving housing in other neighbourhoods to ensure it does not deteriorate and the requirements of people with housing needs.

Meanwhile a Scottish Government proposal to make all new betting offices seek planning permission could also be backed by councillors.

The idea is one of a number put out for consultation by the Scottish Government in a bid to tackle problem gambling and pay day lending and the impact they have on the most vulnerable and deprived members of the community.

Will Dawson added: “In March we called on the Scottish Government to consult on bringing in measures to deal with clustering and over provision of betting shops and I am delighted to see that being carried out so swiftly.

“We have already taken a number of measures in Dundee to tackle and raise awareness of the social problems caused by problem gambling and clearly we support this and other measures that will help.”

Under the plans all new pay day lenders premises would also need planning permission.

A Scottish Government summit in April this year on tackling gambling and payday lending in Scottish town centres and neighbourhoods expressed concern about the number and “clustering” of such premises, and the lack of powers to regulate it.

In response a 12-point action plan was developed including proposals to make new betting and pay day loan outlets seek planning permission.

It also called for support for councils taking planning decisions to address over provision and clustering, which has already been brought in.

The city development committee will be asked to respond to the consultation at its meeting on Monday (October 27).

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