Link Group delivers 293 much-needed homes despite lockdown
Despite ongoing national restrictions, Link Group has continued to work safely with its construction partners to build affordable homes for the people and families who need them most.
In addition to providing over 8,000 homes and services to people and families across Scotland, the affordable housing provider has been able to deliver 293 new homes to communities across Scotland within a seven-month period since reopening their sites in June 2020 following the lockdown.
Link’s commercial director, Colin Culross, said: “It is fantastic to be in a position to keep delivering affordable homes, especially during a period of uncertainty for many people and families across Scotland.
“Covid-19 has created its challenges, but it has not stopped our work in delivering high-quality homes to the people who need it most.
“Since June 2020, Link has delivered 293 homes and is currently building 1,754 more. It is extremely rewarding to see this volume of new homes develop from planning, through to construction, and ultimately to being handed over to tenants.
“These new homes provide a range of tenure choices; including social rent, mid market rent and shared equity homes for sale.
“As part of our commitment to increasing accessibility in new homes, over 10% are built to amenity and wheelchair accessible standards and to improve the housing choices for older people, 25% are retirement living properties.”
Recent handovers include 106 homes at Lawknowe Court, East Kilbride, 30 homes at Market Square, Wishaw, 56 homes at Butterbiggins Road, Glasgow, 44 homes at Glenforth Court, South Queensferry and 10 homes at Calico Crescent, Newton Mearns.
Key partners who are essential in delivering Link’s new homes, include the Scottish Government, local authorities across Scotland and framework developers and consultants.
Link has a major stake in town centre regeneration and is working with Renfrewshire Council to see its vision for the regeneration of Paisley town centre realised around the Abbey Quarter area.
This site, located in the Paisley Town Centre Conservation area, became vacant in 2002 following the closure of the Arnotts Department store and subsequently remained undeveloped for several years.
Link has now completed a third phase which delivered 26 homes for social rent and is advancing the design of a final phase of the master planned site.
The tenure and mix of the dwellings were agreed with Renfrewshire Council and the design and specification is in keeping with Link’s Design Guide, Technical Brief, and the high-quality architecture which already exists in Paisley’s many beautiful, listed buildings.
The total project cost was £4.7m and enabled by grant funding from the Scottish Government and Renfrewshire Council of £2.47 million, with Link funding the private investment.
Link’s design brief focused on the need to deliver the regenerative benefits of providing an active street frontage while ensuring the privacy of the tenants.
In addition, the design was required to be sensitive to the local context with the site being within the Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area.
DO Architecture created a double frontage façade, establishing a civic street frontage behind which tenants benefit from private balconies.
The design utilises simple forms, regular rhythm and repeating, uniform elements such as window sizes to help with buildability and cost effectiveness.
The development was built by Cruden Building & Renewals Ltd and designed by DO Architecture, along with Clyde Design Partnerships (Structural Engineer), administered by Martin Aitken Associates (Quantity Surveyor) and supported by Armour Construction Consultants (CDM Advisor Services).
Delivered across four phases, Abbey Quarter is enhancing Paisley’s town centre and providing a stimulus for economic growth by delivering a community of modern, affordable homes across tenures.
The fourth and final phase of the regeneration has been designed by Hypostyle Architects and has recently been awarded planning approval and Link hopes to commence this phase of 73 affordable, mixed tenure units in the Spring 2021.
Renfrewshire Council’s convener of communities, housing & planning, Councillor Marie McGurk, said: “Our regeneration plans for Paisley town centre will open up opportunities for local people to live and work in the area and create a thriving, social space that attracts visitors.
“Abbey Quarter is an important part of our town centre regeneration plan. We want more people living in the town centre and the next phase of this development will help us achieve that by providing a range of houses which will establish a vibrant community in this fantastic location.”
A key town centre regeneration project, Abbey Quarter meets the Scottish Government’s vision for contemporary town living in Scotland.
Minister for local government, housing and planning, Kevin Stewart MSP, said: “Scottish Government has worked closely with Renfrewshire Council and Link to take forward the four phases of development at the Abbey Quarter.
“The improvement to this landmark area in Paisley is wonderful to see and highlights the benefits of bringing people back to live in the Town Centre.
“There is no doubt these new homes have made a significant contribution to the wider Paisley Town Centre regeneration strategy and I look forward to seeing the Council’s regeneration plans continue.”
Colin Culross added: “When we build it’s not just about the bricks and mortar and we work with our partners to ensure maximum community investment is achieved during the development process and beyond.
“Since January, Link provided 26 work placements and deployed 34 apprentices – it’s all part of the package for us as a key community partner and creating economic growth where we build.
“Of course, building homes is just the first step and all Link teams work hard to ensure we have the services in place to allow our tenants to live and thrive in sustainable communities.
“This additional support has never been more important, and Link has delivered a targeted support package to help those hardest hit by Covid-19.”
Since the end of March, Link Giving Trust has made more than 200 awards to Link and RSL partner tenants and service users, with applications totalling £25,000.
Awards include emergency relief funding for food and utilities, white goods and supporting local community groups who provide food parcels for those in need.
In addition to these measures, Link’s advice team created £267,116.98 of benefit gain across 1,138 households between March and June 2020.
Colin Culross said: “By April 2021 we plan to deliver 780 new homes and a further 1,145 homes in 2021/22. We continue to build homes for a variety of needs across all tenures and will deliver more accessible homes next year than ever with 155 amenity and wheelchair homes.
“This is Link’s response to the Scottish Government’s call for more homes and the biggest development programme we’ve ever embarked.
“It’s fantastic to be part of something that will help improve so many more lives and the communities where people want to live.”