Falkirk Council confirms £332m five year housing spend

A massive spend in Falkirk Council’s housing stock has been agreed with £332 million committed over the next five years for improvements to existing homes and provision of additional homes.

Falkirk Council confirms £332m five year housing spend

In 2021/22 alone, £23.4m will be spent on improvements to around 5,000 properties with £8.8m on improving the fabric of buildings with re-roofing, roughcasting and £3.8m on replacement kitchens and bathrooms. A further £8m will be spent in the next year on replacement doors and windows as the start of a programme to upgrade every property.

In total, £7.9m will be spent on energy efficiency works, with around 1,100 properties each year benefitting from new heating systems at a cost of £2m as well as heating upgrades to three high rise blocks. Further work will also be done on replacement cladding at Glenfuir Court.

£1.8m is allocated for estate improvements such as fences, walls and paths. £1.65m will be invested to complete the council’s programme of upgraded smoke and heat detectors.

Also included in the five-year plan will be investment that will deliver more than 600 new build homes for rent in locations including Hallglen, Bonnybridge, Denny, Banknock, Polmont, Bainsford, Stenhousemuir, Torwood and Langlees.

Falkirk Council will continue its programme of ‘buy backs’ of former council homes purchasing around 80 properties a year at a cost of £6m.

Council rents will increase by 2.0% from 1 April for its 16,000 tenants (or an average of £1.41 per week with an average rent of £71.87 per week). More than half of all tenants will be fully protected from any increase due to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit protection.

The Housing Investment Programme and Housing revenue Account is entirely separate from the council’s other budgets and revenue raised by rents and grants etc, can only be reinvested in housing programmes and in no other aspect of council services.

Councillor Gordon Hughes, spokesperson for housing, said: “We have faced a really challenging year because of COVID-19 however we are aiming to deliver a really ambitious programme of work in the coming year for our 16,000 tenants.

“The rent we collect and other funding allows us to keep our properties at a high standard as well as planning new homes and allowing us to buy back properties. This programme of work will certainly help support the economic recovery with a £330m spend over the next five years.

He added: “The rent increase is in line with the feedback from tenants and aims to balance an acceptable increase relative to the levels of investment and improvement carried out on our houses.

Based on 2019/20 rent levels, Falkirk Council had the 5th lowest rent compared to the other 25 local authority landlords in Scotland. Members approved the budget unanimously.

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