Dundee development offers tenants the future of affordable housing today

Dens Road 1An innovative new housing development is giving people in Dundee the chance to benefit from life enhancing and money saving features which could become common place in affordable housing in the near future.

The 21 innovative homes, which offer free broadband and access to the UK’s first non-profit energy supplier Our Power Energy, were handed over to tenants yesterday.

Forged on the site of a former Dundee metal works in the city’s Hilltown area, the Dens Road development is a product of partnership working between Hillcrest Housing Association, Northern Housing Company, Dundee City Council and property developer Cullross Limited.

Hillcrest’s director of development and new business, David Zwirlein, said: “Dens Road is a truly innovative development which explores the potential of what social housing can achieve.

“Our tenants at Dens Road have the option to be part of a pilot project to investigate the merits of free internet as a means to promote digital inclusion.

“The new approach to internet provision hopefully marks early steps towards ensuring no one is left behind as an increasing number of vital services move exclusively online.”

The Dens Road Digital Exchange (DDE) pilot, which will last for 12 months, offers tenants a free tablet in addition to the broadband which is supplied by Community UK.

In return for cost-free access to the broadband and tablet, Hillcrest is asking the tenants to use their new online tenants’ portal – I-Housing.

I-Housing, which is accessible through the company’s website, allows Hillcrest Housing Association tenants to pay their rent, report and book repairs, and perform a host of other timesaving tasks at any time of the day.

Free broadband is not the only innovative feature that the tenants at Dens Road will be enjoying; they will also be some of the first to benefit from energy supplied by Our Power Energy.

Our Power is a new independent energy supply company, the first in the UK operating on a non-profit distributing basis, providing lower cost heat and power to social housing tenants and their communities across Scotland.

Hillcrest’s energy efficiency officer, Roger Adams, said: “All of the properties have smart meters installed which allow our tenants to easily see how much energy they are consuming giving them the information they need to tailor their energy usage accordingly.

“Our Power makes it easy for tenants to pay their bills – by offering a range of flexible payment options including by phone, web and mobile devices - however the Hillcrest Energy Advice Team (HEAT) will be available if anyone needs any extra advice or guidance.”

Set up by social housing providers – including Hillcrest Housing Association - to reduce levels of fuel poverty and remove the inequalities in the energy sector, Our Power is backed by loan investments from the Scottish Government and Social Investment Scotland.

The delivery of these properties marks another success for Hillcrest and their partners, who are currently on-site or have planning approval to develop 123 properties across Dundee by late 2018.

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