Biggest council housing investment for a generation planned in North Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire CouncilNorth Lanarkshire Council has unveiled plans to build a further 1,000 new council homes to help tackle its housing waiting list.

The local authority is set to approve the £160 million development project which will add to the 800 new properties to which the authority has already committed over the next ten years. More than 600 have already been built or are in the process of being constructed.

The council said the announcement marks the greatest investment in Scottish council housing for decades.

The size of the council’s waiting list is second only to Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire, though in the past two years it has fallen from about 13,000 to just over 12,000.

Around 1,900 homelessness applications were made in North Lanarkshire between 2015-16.

Councillor Barry McCulloch, the convener of housing and social work services, said: “This is a massive investment for the people of North Lanarkshire. As Scotland’s biggest council landlord we understand that modern, accessible housing is a key priority and I’m delighted we will be able to deliver 1800 new houses by 2026.

“We already had an extensive new-build programme in place, but we are determined to do what we can to meet considerable need. The quality of our new houses is unbelievable.

“They are energy-efficient, accessible and adaptable, which means the needs of people can really be taken into account. It means we can deliver a wide range of housing, including housing for older people, disabled people and young people setting up home for the first time.”

A report to the committee set out the criteria for the sites of the 1,000 additional homes.

Councillor McCulloch added: “We will take into account housing need, acceptability in terms of planning legislation, cost of development and location, as well as the contribution more housing can make to wider regeneration priorities.

“The current programme is diverse and has sites across North Lanarkshire and clearly that’s something we would like to see continued.

“There are huge advantages to planning in this way. We can make sure we get the maximum efficiency through early procurement and a programme of this scale will also create jobs, boosting our economy.”

The recommendations were the result of months of work by a member/officer group chaired by Councillor Peter Sullivan.

He said: “New council houses are badly needed but we had to work hard to identify the best and fairest way to deliver these in the current financial climate.

“Access to good quality, affordable housing is a major priority for us and this programme – the biggest in a generation – goes some way towards meeting demand for homes. I’m delighted that many more people will be able to live in safe, efficient and accessible homes as a result of our announcement today.”

Shelter Scotland welcomed the announcement and urged other local authorities to show a similar house building commitment.

Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “It’s welcome news that North Lanarkshire Council has committed to building 1,000 new social homes and we urge the rest of Scotland’s local authorities and the Scottish Government to show similar ambition to tackle our housing crisis.

“With 150,000 households currently on council waiting lists for a home in Scotland and in a society where we aspire to social justice, better educational attainment and improved wellbeing for all, we are still failing too many of our people by not providing the basic need of a safe and secure home.

“Scotland needs at least 12,000 new affordable homes each year for the next five years to meaningfully tackle our housing crisis and bring hope to all those waiting for a home.”

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