Council invests millions in new housing
Monday 19th December 2011
Significant investment in new housing at sites across Clackmannanshire was agreed at last week's Council meeting.
Among the projects discussed were plans to build 25 new houses in Sauchie.
The move follows the successful award of £750,000 by the Scottish Government under the Innovation and Investment Fund.
The proposed new houses will be built at the former Forth Valley College annexe at Hallpark and aim to prevent and alleviate homelessness. The total cost of the project is likely to exceed £2 million.
Council Leader Sam Ovens said: "The Council loses an average of £15,000 for each failed tenancy. For homeless people this further impacts on a range of Council and other public services including social services, educational attainment and health. However, there is also the human cost to consider - a failed tenancy affects the self esteem and potential life outcomes of not only the tenant, but the whole family.
"This plan focuses on the importance of assisting those who need support to sustain their tenancy. This project will also help us to reduce our reliance on expensive and less effective accommodation such as B&Bs."
There will be 25 new flats in two bocks, 10 one-bedroom flats and 15 two-bedroom flats, including one which is fully wheelchair accessible.
The Council will now seek tenders for the construction works to take place with work expected to start on site by summer in 2012.
The Council has also agreed to join a partnership which will deliver new mid market rent houses in Clackmannanshire.
The National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative was set up by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Futures Trust and aims to boost the supply of affordable housing while also stimulating the construction industry.
Contractors with local schemes ready to be built currently have the opportunity to register an interest to deliver new housing under the NHT initiative. If bids are received which meet the priority criteria the Council, along with 15 other local authorities, will enter into a detailed tendering process. The process will begin in April 2012 and the houses will be built by 2015.
Under NHT developers and local authorities jointly fund the purchase of newly-built homes so they can be made available for rent at below market rates, for a period between 5 and 10 years.
Our plans are to build between 25 - 30 new homes, which could be either larger houses or small flats, depending on the schemes developers come forward with. The Council will fund the development costs through borrowing with the intention that interest due on the loans will be met from the rental income generated.
Councillor Ovens added: "We're delighted to be part of the National Housing Trust programme, which demonstrates our commitment to increasing the number of houses available for rent in our communities. In these challenging financial times, this initiative opens the doors to build more affordable housing in Clackmannanshire and complements our plans for new build. By working with the private sector, we can tackle the chronic shortage of affordable rented housing in our area, while also giving a boost to the local economy, particularly the construction industry."
A further report will be presented to Council with details of any bids received for approval.
At the same meeting councillors agreed to redevelop the existing Tillicoultry library/CAP building into three social houses for rent once the library and CAP have moved to the new Hub building.
Meanwhile, work on the first Council houses to be built in Clackmannanshire for over 30 years will begin on site in the spring.
The £1.9 million project will see the former Dalmore Centre in Alva converted into 5 amenity houses and 4 new flats built within the centre's grounds as well as four new blocks of 16 flats in total at The Orchard in Tullibody.