Proposals to create new council housing on sites at Summerhill, Kincorth, Torry, Dyce and Greenferns are among those to have moved forward as part of ambitious plans to significantly increase the supply of social housing in Aberdeen.
The plans were at the heart of the Housing Revenue Account budget agreed by elected members at a meeting of full council yesterday.
The budget is funded by the income from council house rents and associated fees and charges. Priorities for revenue and capital spending were set, with a £40 million programme of upgrades to existing council properties also approved.
As part of the 2019/20 budget a 4.3% rise in council rents was agreed.
This will support investment in upgrades to properties, with the programme for the year ahead including more than £5m to be spent on window replacements, £4.5m on renewing heating systems and £2.75 million on improving insulation. Millions more will be invested in areas including lift replacements, modernising bathrooms and kitchens, electrical improvements and enhanced safety measures.
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “Our work in housing is one of the most important aspects of the service we provide to the people of Aberdeen and the 2019/20 HRA budget supports the continuation of the vital work that we are doing in creating new homes and improving the existing residential estate.
“Housing, both in terms of quality and quantity, is fundamental to our vision for Aberdeen and a place where everyone can prosper. With that in mind, we are moving forward with incredibly ambitious plans to create 2,000 new council homes in the city and I am delighted we have taken the decisions that will accelerate the pace of that programme.
“In the past year we have marked the completion of the £13m development at Smithfield, bringing 99 new homes, and nearby at Manor Walk a further £13m is being invested to create 80 new council homes. The 2019/20 budget we have brought forward creates the next wave of council house construction in Aberdeen, on a level not seen in more than half a century.”
The budget includes approving the award of the contract for the development of 369 homes at Summerhill. The same model will be used to create a total of 389 units on sites at Craighill, Kincorth and Tillydrone. Progress will also be made with plans for two areas of land at Greenferns, with 350 homes earmarked for one of those sites.
The council is also working with private developers and landowners to lay the foundations for partnership working to deliver additional council houses and the 2019/20 budget outlines four private developments, with the potential for 680 homes, that have emerged through that innovative process. The first of those, the First Endeavour LLP development at Dyce Wellheads, will progress to contract award.
Co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “Innovation runs through the council’s approach, with a major change in the way we deliver services and projects. Housing is no different and the partnerships we are building with the private sector will enable us to accelerate the housebuilding programme.
“Housing has been a challenge in the Aberdeen area for a generation and Aberdeen City Council is taking positive strides towards long term solutions to the supply issues, with a focus on the quality of provision as well as quantity.”
The council recently adopted an updated buyback policy, with the purchase of former council homes to return to the rental stock part of the wide-ranging housing strategy.
Source: Scottish Construction News