Multi-million-pound housing investment agreed by East Ayrshire Council

Multi-million-pound housing investment agreed by East Ayrshire Council

Net zero homes in Bonnyton, Kilmarnock

East Ayrshire Council has agreed an investment of almost £28 million to ensure the council’s house building programme continues and a further £109m to improve existing council homes throughout the region.

Since 2010, the council’s house building programme has had a significant impact on communities across East Ayrshire delivering 585 homes. To reflect the importance of housing within East Ayrshire, the service presented seven reports that were approved by the cabinet. The reports, which are presented annually, take a strategic approach to the delivery of new homes and improving existing homes.

An update was provided on new homes completed in the last year. Housing Services, in partnership with developer CCG (Scotland) Ltd, has completed 61 homes at Bellevue Gardens and Witch Road, Kilmarnock; while a further 21 homes were completed by Barratt Developments at its development on Holehouse Road, Kilmarnock. Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partners completed 22 homes in Kilmaurs and Kilmarnock.

Site starts have also been achieved at Kennedy Drive, Kilmarnock where 48 new homes will be built and work is well underway on the assisted living housing development at Kilmarnock Road, Mauchline. Work remains ongoing at the large development on Bridgehousehill Road, Kilmarnock, where 101 homes will be built by our RSL partners.

Multi-million-pound housing investment agreed by East Ayrshire Council

The East Ayrshire Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2024-2029 was approved by the cabinet and it was agreed that almost £28m will be invested over the five-year period. The SHIP aims to deliver up to 762 new, converted or acquired affordable homes through the council’s house building programme and RSL partners.

Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of the council, said: “It is important when we talk about Housing Services that we look beyond the bricks and mortar. A safe, secure and affordable home is essential to the health and wellbeing of our communities, while conversely good housing helps to create better neighbourhoods, a greater sense of community and regeneration of key areas.

“We have seen positive impacts from our approach to Housing Services here in East Ayrshire on our local economy, in job growth and opportunity, improved community wellbeing, supporting our children and young people to thrive and now delivering a key part in a green future through significant investment in existing and new build net zero homes.

“The impact cannot be underestimated and that is why I am also welcoming significant improvement projects including at Dean Street, Witch Road and Orchard Street, Kilmarnock. The plans for this area includes the demolition of the wing blocks and full refurbishment of the remaining 12 flats above the shops; and I also welcome the proposals for Clinchyard Place, Galston that will see the internal and external refurbishment of the four blocks of flats plus landscaping to the open space areas.

“Housing Services are facing significant challenges, but we are determined and focused to deliver the most ambitious plans that we can for our communities.”

Multi-million-pound housing investment agreed by East Ayrshire Council

Housing improvement works in Kilmaurs

A five-year rolling Housing Investment Programme (HIP) was also presented to the cabinet, which clearly set out that energy efficiency will be at the heart of improvement works being delivered by the Housing Asset Services team.

The next phase of the external envelope enhancement programme will see almost £40m being invested with 400 homes a year benefitting from insulation works, external rendering and re-roofing, transforming homes and communities. Just under £6m will be invested in new energy efficient windows and doors for 200 homes and £13.5m will be invested in new Grade A energy efficient heating systems for 800 homes each year of the programme.

Over £40m will be invested in the installation of new kitchens and bathrooms, and electrical upgrades, which equates to 680 homes a year, for each year of the programme. £1.75m will also be invested in a planned programme of cleaning and minor repair works to high-level gutters, rooflines and rainwater goods, for example downpipes and hoppers, helping to protect homes from possible water ingress.

Councillor Jim McMahon, cabinet spokesperson for housing, transport and communities, said: “The Housing Investment Programme for 2024-2029 sets out significant investment in our existing housing stock. It will ensure that our homes continue to perform well and meet the needs of our tenants.

“Over the next five years, we will be investing millions in making our homes more energy efficient. Reducing energy usage for our tenants is a real priority and this work will also help us meet our climate change targets.

“The Housing Asset Services team is also working closely with Economic Growth and the Ayrshire Growth Deal team on exciting opportunities linked to the Community Renewable Energy Project (CoRE). The team will be able to evaluate and monitor four different approaches to delivering low-carbon and energy-efficient homes, which will help to inform future investment in the wider housing stock.

“In the current economic climate, it is essential that we have the right housing stock in the right communities and that our resources are carefully targeted. To achieve this, we work in partnership with the East Ayrshire Federation of Tenants and Residents, a dedicated group that works very hard representing the people of East Ayrshire and with local community groups. We regularly consult with our tenants and this ensures that local voices are at the centre of every conversation and shape the development of our annual improvement programme.”

Multi-million-pound housing investment agreed by East Ayrshire Council

As part of the Housing Asset Management Report, Cabinet agreed to consult with tenants on a rent increase for 2024/25. Tenants will be presented with two proposals – a rent increase of 6.5%, which is an average increase of £5.18 per week and a rent increase of 7.5%, which would be an average increase of £5.97. The second proposal would allow for the previously approved developments at Mason Avenue and Castle Street, New Cumnock to go ahead.

Councillor Jim McMahon added: “The suite of papers that were presented to Cabinet really sets out our ambitions for our communities. Housing Services is a key Council service that is facing an incredibly challenging time with the cost of living crisis, inflation, increased mortgage rates and rising demand for affordable homes as more and more landlords choose to sell their portfolios. As a council, we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to a warm, affordable home in a community that they can feel part of and pride in.

“We ensure that housing demand is assessed fully and that our plans are future-proofed by investing in areas of need. Housing is a long-term investment and as we move forward, we will be looking more closely at demographic projections for East Ayrshire, say 40 years from now, when our population will look considerably different, we need to make sure that the housing we are building now will still meet those needs.

“The housing investment programme isn’t just about the homes though, it is about community and making positive change. I am pleased that we have agreed to the rent consultation with our tenants and that it clearly sets out an option that two would allow for housing to be built in New Cumnock. This project would really improve the village and provide much needed homes for local people.”

New homes within East Ayrshire are being developed with additional grant investment funding from the Scottish Government and contributes to their target to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.

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