Multi-million pound investment in housing agreed by Cabinet
At the recent meeting of Cabinet, an investment of almost £28m was agreed that will ensure that the Council’s house building programme continues across East Ayrshire, meeting the needs of communities and individuals.
Since 2010, the Council’s house building programme has had a significant impact on communities across East Ayrshire delivering 585 homes. The Council recognises that providing safe, secure and affordable homes is the foundation of people’s lives and key to underpinning positive physical and mental wellbeing. Housing also has the potential to reduce health inequalities, can tackle serious issues including child poverty and can enable people to become involved in community life.
To reflect the importance of Housing within East Ayrshire, the service presented seven reports that were approved by Cabinet. The reports, which are presented annually, take a strategic approach to the delivery of new homes and improving existing homes.
An update was provided on new homes completed in the last year. Housing Services, in partnership with developer CCG (Scotland) Ltd has completed 61 homes at Bellevue Gardens and Witch Road, Kilmarnock; while a further 21 homes were completed by Barratt Developments at their development on Holehouse Road, Kilmarnock. Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partners completed 22 homes in Kilmaurs and Kilmarnock.
Site starts have also been achieved at Kennedy Drive, Kilmarnock where 48 new homes will be built and work is well underway on the assisted living housing development at Kilmarnock Road, Mauchline. Work remains ongoing at the large development on Bridgehousehill Road, Kilmarnock, where 101 homes will be built by our RSL partners.
The East Ayrshire Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2024-2029 was approved by Cabinet and it was agreed that almost £28m will be invested over the five year period. The SHIP aims to deliver up to 762 new, converted or acquired affordable homes through the Council’s house building programme and RSL partners.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council said: “It is important when we talk about Housing Services that we look beyond the bricks and mortar. A safe, secure and affordable home is essential to the health and wellbeing of our communities, while conversely good housing helps to create better neighbourhoods, a greater sense of community and regeneration of key areas.
“We have seen positive impacts from our approach to Housing Services here in East Ayrshire on our local economy, in job growth and opportunity, improved community wellbeing, supporting our children and young people to thrive and now delivering a key part in a green future through significant investment in existing and new build net zero homes.
“The impact cannot be underestimated and that is why I am also welcoming significant improvement projects including at Dean Street, Witch Road and Orchard Street, Kilmarnock. The plans for this area includes the demolition of the wing blocks and full refurbishment of the remaining 12 flats above the shops; and I also welcome the proposals for Clinchyard Place, Galston that will see the internal and external refurbishment of the four blocks of flats plus landscaping to the open space areas.
“Housing Services are facing significant challenges, but we are determined and focused to deliver the most ambitious plans that we can for our communities.”
As part of the Housing Asset Management Report, Cabinet agreed to consult with tenants on a rent increase for 2024/25. Tenants will be presented with two proposals – a rent increase of 6.5%, which is an average increase of £5.18 per week and a rent increase of 7.5%, which would be an average increase of £5.97. The second proposal would allow for the previously approved developments at Mason Avenue and Castle Street, New Cumnock to go ahead.
Councillor Jim McMahon, Cabinet Spokesperson for Housing, Transport and Communities said: “The suite of papers that were presented to Cabinet really sets out our ambitions for our communities. Housing Services is a key Council service that is facing an incredibly challenging time with the Cost of Living crisis, inflation, increased mortgage rates and rising demand for affordable homes as more and more landlords choose to sell their portfolios. As a Council we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to a warm, affordable home in a community that they can feel part of and pride in.
“We ensure that housing demand is assessed fully and that our plans are future proofed by investing in areas of need. Housing is a long term investment and as we move forward, we will be looking more closely at demographic projections for East Ayrshire, say 40 years from now, when our population will look considerably different, we need to make sure that the housing we are building now will still meet those needs.
“The housing investment programme isn’t just about the homes though, it is about community and making positive change. I am pleased that we have agreed to the rent consultation with our tenants and that it clearly sets out an option that two would allow for housing to be built in New Cumnock. This project would really improve the village and provide much needed homes for local people.”
New homes within East Ayrshire are being developed with additional grant investment funding from the Scottish Government and contributes to their target to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.