West Dunbartonshire Council votes for highest affordable housing standards in Scotland
New affordable housing in West Dunbartonshire will have to be built to a higher design standard than anywhere else in Scotland following a council decision.
West Dunbartonshire Council is the first local authority in Scotland to introduce the stringent criteria on energy efficiency, kitchen and bathroom design, and accessibility in order to drive up the quality of future housing in the area.
Approved by councillors this week, the ‘West Dunbartonshire Design Standard’ will apply to all new build projects supported by the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme. The policy will also encourage higher standards in external layouts and increase space standards for halls and passages.
By implementing these standards the council will also unlock thousands of pounds of additional funding from the Scottish Government because all new properties will meet a superior greener standard enhancing energy efficiency.
The Scottish Government provides £4,000 of additional funding for each property which meets these greener standards, as these properties release less carbon dioxide than the average home and use less energy to heat the rooms and water supply, allowing significant savings to be made on household bills.
David McBride, convener of housing, said: “I am delighted that we are leading the way when it comes to introducing a standard for designing modern, fit-for-purpose housing which meets the needs of our residents. By setting out a design standard which all affordable housing needs to adhere to will have an extremely positive impact on the whole area. We are committed to improving local housing and this is another step forward in delivering this for West Dunbartonshire for many years to come.”
The council carried out extensive consultation with the Scottish Government and partner housing associations operating within West Dunbartonshire when developing the design standard.
A presentation was also made to the West Dunbartonshire Tenants and Residents Organisation (WDTRO), with widespread support shown for adopting this new approach to housing design.
The first project to meet these standards are the 37 recently completed homes at Hillstreet Square in Brucehill, Dumbarton.
Work on the council’s next new build project at Second Avenue in Clydebank will start early next year, and an additional £2.16 million has already been secured from the Scottish Government for this project, which will meet the new design standard.
Once completed, it’s planned that the 40 properties will provide a mixture of one and two bedroom flats, three bedroom semi-detached houses, four bedroom townhouses and a wheelchair accessible bungalow.
Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, vice-convener of housing, added: “We have already seen the quality of housing which has been achieved at Hillstreet Square in Brucehill and I’m looking forward to work getting underway in Clydebank next year. Not only will this design standard create homes that residents can be proud of, but the energy efficiencies they offer will also see tenants saving substantial amounts of money on their household bills. Having the support of local housing associations will be crucial in implementing this new design standard for affordable housing and I’m looking forward to working together as we all aim to build a better West Dunbartonshire.”
Since 2013, and 25 years on from the last new council homes built in the area, West Dunbartonshire Council has invested over £8m in providing 121 new build council homes in Clydebank, Haldane, Bellsmyre and Brucehill. This has included over £4m in grant funding from the Scottish Government.