Increased housing investment pledged as Angus Council agrees rents rise

Donald Morrison
Donald Morrison

Angus Council has outlined its plans to deliver “high quality, warm and affordable homes” for tenants as councillors agreed to raise housing rents in the region by 3.1%.

The increase is the final chapter of a four-year phased restructure of rent rises and will see Angus council house rents remain among the lowest in Scotland.

The average weekly rent of £61.55 will increase in Angus by £1.90 to £63.45 before a return to applying a single rent increase across all housing stock from 2018/19.

Implementing the increases for 2017/18 will generate a housing rental income increase of some £471,000, taking the total to just shy of £25 million.

The special meeting also set out the £15.1m capital spend programme for 2017/18, detailing major projects which include the creation of 11 new affordable homes at Viewmount in Forfar and a start on the transformation of the Abbey Quarter in Arbroath where 40 properties will be developed.

Communities convener, Donald Morrison, said the local authority will continue to create homes that tenants are proud of by investing in what matters most to them.

He told The Courier: “In the next five years we will almost double our capital programme, investing over £90m in new homes and in existing stock, including external insulation, efficient heating and bathrooms.

“Our ambition is to help make Angus a great place to live, work and visit, by providing the right homes in the right places and by leading the regeneration of those parts of our communities that need additional investment.

“It’s about more than just bricks and mortar – it’s about jobs, it’s about the apprenticeships, it’s about creating pride in our places and it’s about the local economy.

“That’s why we have major projects at Chapelpark and Viewmount in Forfar and at the Abbey Quarter in Arbroath and it’s also why we will be investigating any opportunities to make more of under-used assets in our communities.”

The authority has also committed to a “significant” heating replacement and energy-saving programme and the continuation of a bathroom replacement programme which got under way in this financial year.

Around 10% of the council’s housing stock has already received bathroom improvements, leaving 7,000 homes still to be done under a programme due to be completed by 2026.

“Our tenants steering group will be instrumental in that delivery and in guiding our direction of travel,” said Mr Morrison.

“They are integral to important decisions on financial planning, on policy and on performance improvement and customer satisfaction.”

Tom O’Brien from the tenants steering group said the council’s business plan demonstates “a real tangiable return for the rent we pay”.

He said the money generated would bring improvements to existing homes and there would be many more affordable houses built as a result.

Mr O’Brien said it made the greatest possible use of council rent without taking “undue risks that could have consequences for future generations”.

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