West Dunbartonshire Council responds to housing waiting list reports
West Dunbartonshire Council has defended its record after figures revealed that nearly 4000 people in the area are waiting for a council house.
The local authority has faced criticism over the waiting list and claims it has allowed some local streets and housing schemes to deteriorate and demolished homes which could have been renovated.
However housing convenor David McBride said the local housing situation is “extremely positive” and that “significant investment” is being made in affordable and private housing across Dumbarton and the Vale.
The council has built 121 new homes for social rent since 2013 – the first in West Dunbartonshire in a generation (Miller Road, Haldane – 15; Central Bellsmyre – 36; Hillstreet Square, Brucehill – 37 and Granville Street, Clydebank – 33) and social landlords have provided 134 (Cube HA – Scholars, Clydebank – 33; Cube HA – Beardmore Place – 55; Dunbritton HA – Turnberry Place – 13 and Bield HA – Glenfinnan Gardens, Dumbarton – 33).
In addition a further £19.8 million is committed to the new build programme over the next five years.
The council has also formed a strategic housing partnership with Wheatley Group, and a number of partnerships with local housing associations which will see over 1,000 new social homes built over 10 years. The council said this pioneering arrangement helps to ensure there is the right mix of housing throughout the area to meet the needs of West Dunbartonshire residents.
A number of other sites have also been identified for both private and social development, and these will be outlined when the updated Strategic Housing Investment Plan is presented to councillors in November.
At the moment Wheatley Group is planning to build 283 homes (Carrick Terrace, Dumbarton – 31; Bonhill Primary School – 44; Dumbain Road, Balloch – 26; Stirling Road (as part of a private development) – 8; Westcliff – around 50; Auld Street, Clydebank – 24 and Former St Andrew’s High – 100) and other registered social landlords are planning 186 (Caledonia Housing Association, in partnership with Dunbritton Housing Association and Cordale Housing Association – 55 in Central Alexandria; Caledonia Housing Association – 31 in Renton; Dunbritton Housing Association – 100 at Dumbarton Harbour and Link Housing Association – Dalmuir).
Councillor David McBride, convener of housing and communities, said: “The housing situation across Dumbarton and the Vale is extremely positive. Unprecedented levels of house building have been carried out over the last few years and are set to continue. In Westcliff there will be around 50 new, modern homes built which will all meet the West Dunbartonshire design standard – meaning they will be more energy efficient. In Bellsmyre too, we took the opportunity to demolish the low demand flats and will be developing around 100 new replacement homes in the area. Our partnership with Wheatley Group is going from strength to strength and it’s also pleasing to see local housing associations carrying out significant capital investment programmes in the area.
“As well as all the new homes which are being built across the area, the council has invested more money than ever before on improving our current homes. Our £81m project upgraded more than 9,200 homes to meet the national housing standard, improving the lives of thousands of tenants by ensuring their homes are warm, dry and free from serious disrepair.
“We are making real progress on the council’s waiting list too, which has dropped by almost 50 per cent in the last six years. Even now, the majority of those on the waiting list are already council tenants awaiting a move to another property. High waiting lists are an issue faced by councils across Scotland as a result of the Right to Buy scheme introduced by the Thatcher government. That’s why I’m pleased this scheme is now at an end and we are taking the necessary steps to reverse the problems caused by this policy.
“The council is committed to improving local housing and we have certainly made significant strides to do so. We will continue to work hard with our tenants and residents to ensure that our available housing meets their demands and needs, whilst developing stronger, safer communities.”