Social housing up to scratch in Berwickshire

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Berwickshire Housing Association is confident that its houses will meet the quality standard that has been set for social housing across Scotland by 2015.

However, it is more ambitious than just aiming to meet basic standards and chief executive, Helen Forsyth, said: “We hope to upgrade in line with what our tenants want and we are asking them what they would like.

“We have been fortunate over the years that the housing stock in Berwickshire has been kept at a reasonable standard.”

By 2020 all social housing will have to meet energy efficient standards and Helen explained that 70% of Berwickshire Housing Association stock is already at that level and it is on course to meet that target too.

Berwickshire Housing Association’s annual report and financial statement for the year ending March 2014 has just been published and while group turnover (includes BHA Enterprise Limited and Seton Care) has increased to £9.3 million the group is by no means complacent about the future challenges it will face.

“I think the climate is tough but we are fairly resilient and we have been managing our money cautiously,” added Helen.

By spring next year 62 new houses will be ready for occupation by BHA tenants - 30 in Duns and 32 in Eyemouth - the first pre-fabricated, modular houses in Scotland.

“We have 40-50 bids per house in Duns and Eyemouth so this will break that down considerably,” added Helen.

“We will have to see what they are like when they are finished and what they are like to live in.”

All being well BHA will invest in similar housing in the future, using the income they will get from their partnership investment in wind turbines in east Berwickshire; the plan being to invest the money in new houses, particularly in the smaller settlements.