Falkirk Council plans £104m housing investment over next three years

Stenhousemuir Main Street 1
Artist’s impression of a development of council homes in Stenhousemuir which are due for completion early this year

More than £104 million is set to be invested in housing across the Falkirk Council area in the next three years as part of the council’s on-going investment programme.

The investment programme 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 no other aspect of council services.

In 2017/18 alone, £17.15m will be spent making improvements to around 6,000 properties across the council area, such as £8.7m for re-roofing and roughcasting; £2.2m for replacement kitchens and bathrooms and £2m for electrical improvement works.

A total of £2.2m will also be allocated for an on-going programme of heating system upgrades, which will improve the energy efficiency of around 750 homes. A further £1.5m will be spent on improving local estates.

Falkirk Council is also continuing its new council house building programme with 158 new homes to be built over the next three years in Falkirk, Denny, Hallglen and Grangemouth at an approximate cost of £23.4m.

A further £6m has been allocated to help the council ‘buy-back’ former council homes sold under ‘right-to-buy’ legislation, with around 250 properties expected to be bought over the next three years.

Councillor Gerry Goldie, spokesperson for housing, said: “There is a real on-going need for additional affordable homes, available to rent to those who need them most.

“Our house building programme is ambitious and has already delivered 356 new homes across the area and our buy-back scheme is successful in providing a way of getting the types of properties people need most back into circulation.

“The wider investment we are making to improve our homes will help benefit thousands of tenants however, the money we raise from rents can only be spent on this and not applied across other areas of the council’s spending.”

Council rents will increase by an average of 3.6% from 1 April for its 16,000 tenants (or an average of £2.23 per week). Approximately four in ten of all tenants will be fully protected from any increase due to housing benefit protection. A recent survey showed that nearly 80% of tenants felt their rent represented ‘good value for money’ and nearly 85% were satisfied with the overall housing service they received.

In 2016/17, Falkirk Council had the 5th lowest rent and the 3rd highest level of repairs and improvement spending per house compared to the other 25 local authority landlords in Scotland.

Falkirk Council has also agreed to a 3% increase in Council Tax for 2017/18.

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