Councillors to discuss major Borders affordable housing development proposal
A potential major affordable housing boost for the Borders will be discussed by councillors next week.
A report to Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee recommends the disposal of the former Earlston High School to allow Eildon Housing Association to redevelop the site.
A feasibility study by Eildon has identified that the site has the capacity for up to 55 new homes, which could be completed in 2019/2020, while the development would also facilitate a new play-park at a nearby site.
The former Earlston High School has been identified as a prioritised affordable housing site in the council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2017-22, which was agreed by the council in November 2016 and subsequently submitted to Scottish Government.
It is estimated in the SHIP that £163 million could be invested into affordable housing over five years, with the council and partners delivering almost 1,200 homes in that time.
Councillors on the executive committee will discuss the report on March 7.
Councillor David Parker, Scottish Borders Council’s leader, said: “The council and partners have an ambitious target for affordable housing over the next five years and by working with Eildon Housing Association it is hoped the former Earlston High School site will make a significant contribution towards meeting this target.
“If this agreement is approved by the executive committee, this development would provide vital accommodation for local people and families, allowing them to live and work in their communities, while also providing a welcome boost to the local building industry.”
Councillor Frances Renton, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for social work and housing, added: “The SHIP is an ambitious plan which identifies how local housing needs and priorities will be addressed, including which housing projects are anticipated to be delivered over the five years to 2022.
“It is hoped that during the period of the new SHIP we will see more than double the number of houses delivered in the previous five years, with the redevelopment of Earlston High School being a major contribution towards achieving this.”
Nile Istephan, chief executive of Eildon Housing Association, added: “Delivering record numbers of high quality affordable homes across the Scottish Borders is a key aspect of Eildon’s strategy over the next five years. Addressing housing need across our communities, including high demand areas like Earlston, is a vital component in ensuring a thriving Scottish Borders. Eildon, working closely with SBC and other partners, is delighted to continue to play a central role in these efforts.”
The report also proposes that the council uses funding available in its affordable housing investment budget to make up the difference between the market valuation sought by the council and the affordable housing valuation determined by the District Valuer.