Massive council housing build plan unveiled

Councillor Barry McCulloch, convener of the housing and social work services committee, at North Road in Cumbernauld where the council is building 29 new council homes as part of its Building for the Future programme.
Councillor Barry McCulloch, convener of the housing and social work services committee, at North Road in Cumbernauld where the council is building 29 new council homes as part of its Building for the Future programme.

ONE thousand new council houses are to be built in North Lanarkshire by 2020 at a cost of £150 million.

North Lanarkshire Council has agreed to invest a further £1.8 million a year to double the number of new council homes from 500 to 1000.

The investment was announced as part of the council’s housing revenue budget for 2012/13 which also sees an extra £2.3 million of growth money spent on improving its housing stock. This increases resources available for next year’s capital programme to almost £40m.

Council tenants will also benefit from an inflation busting rent increase of just 1.5 per cent – and rent levels in North Lanarkshire are already among the lowest in Scotland.

Last year the council, Scotland’s largest social landlord, agreed a two-year deal to keep rent increases to 1.5 per cent, which this year means an average weekly increase of just 80 pence. The average weekly rent in 2012/13 will be £53.99.

The investment package was agreed last Thursday by the council’s housing and social work services committee as part of its 2012/13 housing revenue account budget. This budget will be finalised next month when the council approves its multi-million pound revenue budget for the year ahead. The £2.3 million will boost the council’s housing capital programme with:

* £1 million to accelerate the kitchen programme;

* £500,000 to progress the upgrading of single to double glazing via the window/door replacement programme;

* £500,000 to accelerate the roofing and render programme;

* £300,000 to commence a project for the installation of renewable energy measures.

In addition to this capital investment, £36,000 will be added to the repairs budget for lock ups to reflect the additional income generated through charge increases.

Housing and social work services committee convener Barry McCulloch, said: “This is an outstanding housing budget for the council and its tenants.

“It supports our vision to deliver a positive housing future for the people of North Lanarkshire by providing high quality housing in neighbourhoods where people want to live. Over the five year period from 2010 to 2015, we will invest £210 million to improve the quality of our existing stock of over 36,500 houses through our mainstream capital programme.

“It will also deliver an even more ambitious new build programme, expanding our existing programme of 500 houses to provide 1000 new houses by the year 2020 at a cost of approximately £150 million.”

He added: “As the council faces major challenges in dealing with changing economic pressures and diminishing resources, it is vital that we continue to invest in housing, not only to address the increasing demand for affordable rented accommodation but also to support employment across all sectors.”