Dundee to build over 600 new council homes
Dundee City Council has unveiled plans to invest £64 million in a housebuilding programme which will see over 600 new homes built over the next five years.
The local authority has identified nearly a dozen sites across the city to help tackle its burgeoning council housing waiting list that currently stands at about 7,000 people.
The announcement comes as councillors are set to discuss proposals for an average weekly rent increase of 1-2 per cent from January.
Councillor John Alexander, the city’s housing convener, said a total of 667 properties were planned in the next five years.
He told the Evening Telegraph: “Dundee City Council is to build more than 600 properties in the coming years.
“We will be working in partnership with housing associations to develop much-needed affordable housing.
“We have ambitious plans to invest millions of pounds into new- build housing over the coming years.
“This will result in affordable, energy efficient and modern homes.”
Last month, figures released by the Scottish Government showed that the city council had built just 81 homes in the past 19 years, despite more than 7,000 people waiting for housing.
Mr Alexander said this year, so far, 117 properties have either already been completed or are currently under way across three sites in Dundee; at Sandy Loan, Mill o’ Mains and Sinclair Street in Lochee.
He said: “In addition to these, the council is working with partners to complete 185 properties over the next two years. From 2016/17, a further 266 units are proposed for several areas including the former Alexander Street and Derby Street multi sites, which have lain empty for several years.”
He said the developments would expand the availability of housing in Dundee.
He added: “I’m personally determined to squeeze every pound of investment I possibly can into building properties.
“We’ve lost stock for years because of ‘right to buy’ and, thankfully, this policy is coming to an end next year.
“This factor, coupled with real investment will begin to turn the tide.
“I am hopeful we will soon begin to see more houses becoming available for the people of Dundee.
“We are moving forward and we’ve also set aside additional resources.
“This includes £1.2m for wheelchair accessible housing as there is a need for that in Dundee.”
New homes planned for 2015/16 include 70 at Mill o’ Mains, 32 at Ormiston Crescent, 15 at Dens Metals, 38 at Kilbride Place, 18 at St Ann Lane and six at Blackwood Court. Another 266 are programmed for 2016 onwards.
These include 81 at Alexander Street, 65 at Fintry Drive/Finavon Street, 40 at Mill o’ Mains, 50 at Derby Street and 30 at Whitfield.
Mr Alexander said the council was also working with the Scottish Government and the private sector to develop 99 national housing trust units for mid-market rent at Wallace Craigie Works.
He said additional funding was still to be allocated which could result in still further housing.
Meanwhile council house tenants in Dundee could have the lowest rent increase in more than four decades if recommendations are agreed next week.
Dundee rents could rise by as much as £72 a year to pay for future investment in housing.
Members of the council’s housing committee will be asked to approve discussions with tenants on annual increases as well as moving to a payment period of 52 weeks from 48 at a meeting on Monday October 26.
John Alexander said he believes the council is delivering value for money to its tenants.
“The options we are presenting to tenants give them the chance to make an informed choice between increases as each offers a different level of future investment in our housing stock,” he said.
“Despite these options including the lowest proposed increase since 1973, we are still able to raise the bar by looking to support tenants who are suffering because of welfare benefits changes and invest more money in building modern, fuel efficient council houses.
“For a third successive year some charges, such as the communal cleaning and lock-up rental charges, are frozen.
“Tenants know why we are proposing the three options and exactly what they and the city’s council housing stock are getting for their money.”