City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Plans 1,100 New Council Homes: First in 20 Years

By edg - Posted on 31 July 2008

Around 1100 new homes will be built by City of Edinburgh Council if new proposals being developed get the go ahead. These will be the first Council homes to be built in nearly 20 years, and will be made up of housing for sale and rent.

The plans, which it is hoped will allay the impact of the credit crunch, mark a major change in the City of Edinburgh Counil's housing strategy for tackling Edinburgh's shortage of affordable housing. Edinburgh has a growing population and depleted social housing stock due to the right-to-buy policy, with around 6,000 homes bought by tenants since 1997. The council estimates it needs to deliver 12,000 new affordable homes over the next 10 years.

The city currently builds about 500 homes a year with its Affordable Housing Investment Policy (AHIP), but building is restricted to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).

It is hoped that the new homes would provide a boost to the regeneration of targeted areas - Pennywell, North Sighthill and Gracemount. Under the plans some houses would be for sale and some for rent, with affordable housing being subsidised by the surplus generated from housing for sale.

A report will be put to Councillors on the 12 August to seek approval to undertake a detailed feasibility study for building and managing these new Council homes. It is expected this study will be complete along with plans for the sites by March 2009.

Councillor Paul Edie, Housing Convenor said, "I am really pleased to announce that we aim to build the first new council housing in Edinburgh for nearly 20 years.

"This is the first time in a generation that the Council has considered building homes which marks a major shift in strategy and defining Council housing in the 21st Century. I hope the people of Edinburgh will be reassured that their Council is responding to the obvious difficulties many of them face in finding a home.

Councillor Norman Work, Chair of the Edinburgh Homelessness Forum said, "We are reinventing how Council housing is managed and making changes to tackle the housing crisis head-on. Most importantly we are providing Edinburgh with homes that are badly needed."

Betty Stevenson, Convenor of Edinburgh Tenants Federation, commented, "The Federation very much welcomes the prospect of building council housing in Edinburgh once again. This is something the Federation has sought for a very long time. In the present housing crisis new council housing is desperately needed. We look forward to learning the details about what would be involved in making this happen."