Focus on affordable homes for the region

The Berwickshire Housing Association houses at Acredale, Eyemouth (phase 3) should be ready to move into by November.
The Berwickshire Housing Association houses at Acredale, Eyemouth (phase 3) should be ready to move into by November.

Scottish Borders Council has agreed a five year affordable housing plan which could see over 1,000 homes built by 2024.

Local authorities are required to submit affordable housing plans to the Scottish Government each year, which itself has a target of building 50,000 new homes.

At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s executive body councillors were asked to give their approval to the plans by Cathie Fancy, the local authority’s housing strategy and services manager.

She told councillors: “It’s really pertinent here, that over the last ten housing strategy submissions to the government, we’ve delivered about 959 new affordable homes, but over the next five years we’re actually hoping to provide more than that.

“This just shows you the extent of the ambition in what we’re trying to do and and everyone is playing their part.”

The homes will represent nearly £185m of investment over a five year period, which will be funded by grants from the Scottish Government, private borrowing from housing associations and money raised by Scottish Borders Council’s second homes tax.

Councillor Mark Rowley, the local authority’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “Considering we don’t hold housing stock ourselves, it’s a great tribute to Cathy that housing has been such a priority for this council, and I know that the many people living in wonderful homes across the Scottish Borders will be very grateful to her.

“These figures are quite incredible. In rough terms, we’re talking about an investment here of around £185m between various sources, including ourselves, our partners and government.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mid Berwickshire councillor Mr Rowley added: “As a council we are determined to support the delivery of much-needed affordable homes across the area. This helps young people stay and work in the area, have families and put down roots here.”

“That has a significant, long term positive impact on our local economy.

“More than 1,000 affordable homes would go a long way to meeting housing needs in our communities over the next five years and would also help support the local construction sector, providing a further boost to the economy.

“It is an ambitious plan and there are certainly some challenges, from land supply to funding, but we continue to work very closely with a range of partners, including registered social landlords and the Scottish Government, to maximise opportunities to deliver more affordable homes.”