New affordable homes to boost Falkirk Council pension fund

Falkirk_CouncilAlmost 100 new homes are to be built in the Falkirk area in a move that will also provide an income for the local authority’s pension fund.

Members of Falkirk Council’s executive committee agreed to bring forward an Affordable Housing Grant to help fund new developments.

A total of 62 socially rented properties are to be built in the Bellsdyke area of Larbert and a further 34 affordable homes will be built at Overton Crescent in the Redding area after the Scottish Government agreed to contribute a £4.7 million grant.

Both areas are deemed to be in high demand of social and affordable housing and were chosen from a list of proposed sites because they are suitable for quick development.

The homes will be managed by Edinburgh-based housing association Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association and rented at a rate of £80 to £85 per week.

The first homes are due to be completed and available for rent at the Bellsdyke site by next summer.

The project has been given the green light after the Scottish Government finance innovation unit agreed to provide a one-off £2.35m grant toward the development.

The remaining funding came after further discussions with the Scottish Government led to an agreement that the council could draw down early future years grant funding, which was recently approved by Falkirk Council’s executive committee.

The project is being carried out as part of an investment by Falkirk Council’s pensions committee, which is investing £30m in social and affordable housing in the Falkirk area in partnership with Castle Rock.

Councillors were told at a recent meeting of the housing committee that the pensions investment project is already reaping financial rewards.

A report from the council’s director of corporate and neighbourhood services states: “The proposed developments at Bellsdyke and Redding will provide an additional 96 properties in areas of high demand, which the council will have nomination rights for.

“Following further discussions with the Scottish Government, the funding shortfall of £4.7m for both projects will now be met from Scottish Government grant. There will therefore be no financial impact for the council.

“The proposed funding methodology is a combination of a one-off grant and by drawing down early future years grant funding.

“It is recommended that the executive agree to bring forward £2.35m affordable housing grant to facilitate the funding of new build developments at Bellsdyke and Redding, as part of the council’s pension fund investment in social/affordable housing.”

Housing committee spokesman Gerry Goldie told The Falkirk Herald: “Ninety-six houses. Great stuff. I compliment the officers and the council for going back to the Scottish Government and obtaining a better deal.”

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