Council to construct 1,000 more houses

Councillors Gary O'Rorke and Jim McCabe.
Councillors Gary O'Rorke and Jim McCabe.

North Lanarkshire Council is looking for innovative ways to build up to 1,000 new houses within the next four years.

Despite having Scotland’s largest council house stock of 36,000 homes, it is estimated there is approximately 16,000 people on the waiting list.

The council is already committed to delivering 1,150 new homes by 2020, however council leader Jim McCabe wishes to increase and accelerate the programme.

Councillor McCabe said; “The most frequent requests that certainly I and most councillors now receive are requests for housing.

“Our housing department has been extremely successful since 2012, and despite cuts to our budget through their first class management means North Lanarkshire is now second to none with regarding our housing repairs and maintenance and we also have some of the lowest rents in Scotland, certainly in comparison with the private sector.

“It is not surprising why so many people, quite understandably, are now looking for a council house tenancy so I have asked a small group of councillors to look at possible ways in which we can increase our council house stock.”

The group is chaired by Motherwell and South East councillor Gary O’Rorke.

He said: “We have looked at the general overview and the rationale, risks and benefits of such a large scale council house build programme would bring to the people of North Lanarkshire.

“It was established that there could be a variety of delivery models to deliver such a project , but the main hurdle is the funding and viability.

“A good deal of our time was spent investigating these potential ways in which this could be funded and I am glad to say that we have identified two or three ways in which funding can be attained for such a project.

“We also found that it is crucial to have good working partnership in place with the Scottish Government to enable maximum advice and grant assistance to be in place with these proposed new build homes.”

With potential funding avenues established the councillors are now identifying areas throughout North Lanarkshire with particular housing needs.

Councillor McCabe said: “A new council built house programme should be one of the central pillars of North Lanarkshire Council’s social and economic strategy and all the evidence we have gathered indicates quite clearly the positive impact this will have on many people.”