Social housing shortage in Berwickshire is being tackled

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SOCIAL housing in Berwickshire could be boosted by 80 new houses if planning applications for developments at Eyemouth and Duns are successful.

For every Berwickshire Housing Association house that becomes available there can be up to 50 applications because of the shortage of available, affordable housing in the area and these planned houses could go some way to easing the situation.

The housing association own land where they planned to build houses but changes to funding for social housing have made it more difficult for them to do so.

To get round this they have an agreement with housing developer Adston that Adston will apply for planning permission and if it’s granted they will build 32 houses at Acredale, Eyemouth and 47 beside the recently completed sheltered accommodation scheme at Station Court, Duns.

Other ways the housing association have tried to increase their housing stock in the current financial climate is by looking at building 60 houses at Earlsmeadow, 45 to be sold at market price and 15 of them affordable houses for rent or to buy.

If planning permission is granted the land will be sold by BHA to the developer and once the houses are build they will be bought by BHA and rented out to tenants.

Explaining why they are taking this approach at Eyemouth, with the situation similar in Duns, Berwickshire Housing Association chief executive, Helen Forsyth, said: “With the substantial reduction in Housing Association Grant (HAG) funding from the Scottish Government, from an average of 70% of development costs to 45% of development costs, BHA has had to take an innovative approach to the development of new homes.

“ If we are to build new housing with less grant, we need to reduce build costs, eliminate construction risk yet maintain our high quality standards.

“At Acredale we are working with the developer Adston Ltd to achieve this.

“Adston are seeking planning consent for a 32 homes development on BHA land and, subject to planning consent, BHA will sell the land to Adston at market value. Adston will then build-out the site and on completion, subject to our satisfaction, BHA will purchase the completed development.

“This approach will enable the association to acquire the completed homes at a highly attractive price without bearing any of the construction risk.

“The fact that the development is purchased turnkey also means the association only spends money on the development once the homes have been completed.

“A further innovation at Acredale is the use of modular construction; the homes constructed as modules within a factory, before being brought to site for erection and finishing.”

Adston have submitted planning applications for full planning permission for both sites.