A number of housing-related papers were considered by East Ayrshire Cabinet this week as the Council set out its vision for the future of housing and housing services over the next five years, with a total investment of £175 million.
The Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) outlines how East Ayrshire Council will fulfil its commitment to support the Scottish Government’s target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.
The plan identifies proposed affordable housing projects across East Ayrshire over the next five years from 2020-2025 – with a budget of £88 million from East Ayrshire Council – and includes new-build affordable homes; investment in social housing; returning empty homes to the pools of effective housing stock; increasing the supply of properties suitable for older people and delivering accommodation solutions to allow people to live healthy, independent lives in their own communities.
Up to 985 new, rehabilitated and acquired affordable homes will be delivered through the new SHIP, in partnership with local registered social landlords, and elements of the new-build programme will be aligned with specific requirements identified by the Health and Social Care Partnership.
The first year of the programme (2020-2021) will include the creation of 390 new homes in Newmilns, Kilmarnock, Auchinleck, Drongan and Cumnock. A further 277 new homes will be introduced during the second year of the plan (2021-2022) in Mauchline, New Cumnock, Cumnock, Kilmaurs and Kilmarnock. During year three of the SHIP (2022-2023) 166 new homes will be created in Kilmarnock, Stewarton, Newmilns and Auchinleck. The remaining 152 homes will be delivered over the two remaining years of the plan, 84 in year four and 68 in year five.
Katie Kelly, Depute Chief Executive, Safer Communities said:
“Our housing plans are about much more than just the fabric of the buildings. We want to create communities which are safe and secure and the SHIP complements the work already underway across Community Planning partners and communities to help sustain East Ayrshire’s communities.
“There are five developments currently on site, some completed, others nearing completion, namely David Dale Avenue in Stewarton, Tinto Avenue and Fraser Walk in Kilmarnock, Andrew Nisbet Place in Hurlford and Carskeoch Drive in Patna.
“We’ve been working in partnership with CCG on these developments and we’ve seen a significant number of community benefits – we’ve appointed 10 new starts, created 7 new apprentices and implemented 7 work placements. And CCG has distributed £40,000 to community groups where local engagement events have been held with CCG and Vibrant Communities.
“During the life of this Plan we can expect to see more new starts, apprenticeships, and work placements, and support for community groups being delivered by CCG.”\
The Local Housing Strategy 2019-2024 outlines the Council’s approach to meeting statutory duties such as minimising fuel poverty, tackling the effects of climate change and improving the condition of homes across all tenures – including all new homes which form part of the new SHIP.
The Local Housing Strategy will ensure that everyone in East Ayrshire has access to good quality, energy efficient housing, within safe, healthy and vibrant communities.
In addition, proposals set out in the Housing Investment Programme (HIP) (2020-2025) will ensure that all properties are well maintained and continue to meet the requirements of both the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) and the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing. (EESSH). Currently 98.66% of East Ayrshire Council’s housing stock meets SQHS and 97.94% meets EESSH.
With a budget of £86 million, an extensive programme of asbestos removal, external envelop enhancements, window and door replacements, efficient heating installations and general modernisation of facilities and services is planned as part of the HIP.
Both the SHIP and the LHS have been informed by the Housing Need and Demand Assessment of local housing needs and demands, including the scale, type and location of affordable housing provision across the area. This Assessment provides robust and credible projections for assessing housing needs and demands, and local tenants, residents, landlords and partner organisations contribute to the process.
In a separate, but related report, councillors also considered proposals for rent levels for 2020/2021 and agreed to a consultation period from 9 December 2019 – 10 January 2020.
Final outcomes will be presented as part of the Council’s Budget proposals in the New Year.
All of these actions contribute to East Ayrshire Council’s vision: “Everyone in East Ayrshire to be able to afford and have access to a quality home that meets their needs and aspirations, and is located within a safe and attractive neighbourhood in which they are proud to live.”