Midlothian Council ‘pleased’ with affordable housing progress
Midlothian Council’s affordable house building programme is “progressing well” despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, councillors were told this week.
Attendees at the full council meeting received an update on the authority’s housebuilding programme and a brief update on the impact of the pandemic on current active projects.
The local authority, which earlier this week agreed more than £16 million of additional money from the Housing Revenue Account will be used to buy 100 new build homes for council housing from developers, said Phase 1 of the programme has so far provided 864 additional houses. Under Phase 2, a total of 488 homes are planned and so far a total of 297 of these homes have been constructed
Phases 3 and 4 plan for a further 745 additional homes at various sites but the exact number of sites and homes will be subject to some variation as the project evolves, the council added.
Progress during 2020 over phases 2, 3 and 4 continues with 125 homes currently being constructed on-site with a further 462 homes planned to commence before the end of 2020.
The meeting provided a detailed update on site acquisitions for new housing. The local authority said some of these sites will be gained by council building closures or by entering into land purchase/design and build contracts with developers. There are also options for the purchase of completed houses from external developers as a procurement route to achieve completed homes as soon as possible.
Councillors also asked officers to look at the timescale for processing planning applications relating to house building with a view to taking the required steps to speed up the process to support economic recovery in the area.
Councillor Stephen Curran, cabinet member for housing at Midlothian Council, said: “I’m pleased to report that the council housebuilding programme is progressing well despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The need for affordable housing is increasing and Midlothian Council is working hard to ensure that new housing is being planned to meet a range of needs.”