COUNCIL tenants, elderly and vulnerable residents in South Ayrshire may soon benefit from the first council house building programme for more than 30 years.
Agreed at a special meeting of South Ayrshire Council today, the proposed new council houses form part of the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) which aims to provide almost 500 additional houses for rent between 2010 and 2015, to be undertaken by the council and local housing associations.
The plan will now be submitted to the Scottish Government, who provide the funding for social housing via the Affordable Housing Investment Programme.
If the council’s full bid for funding is successful, a total of 68 new council houses would be built in the North Ayr area.
In addition, building work is already scheduled for 61 new houses in South Ayrshire, in 2010/11 in conjunction with local housing associations, with a further 90 the following year.
Additional developments are also planned for Fisherton, Girvan, Ayr and Prestwick as part of the five-year plan.
Commenting on the SHIP and the bid for additional money, Councillor Douglas Campbell, portfolio holder for housing, said: “The SHIP sets out how we intend to start increasing the availability of houses to rent across South Ayrshire.
“We know there is more be done to deliver the number of houses we need across the area. This needs to be balanced against the reality of what we can achieve in the present economic climate, given some of the financial constraints and pressures we face.
“In the course of the coming five years, we will continue to explore every opportunity to develop and build houses to rent for those most in need, but SHIP marks the first very positive step towards that goal.
“Moving on, I am particularly pleased that tenants, residents and landlords have all been involved and a South Ayrshire Registered Social Landlords’ Forum has been set up in order that we can further consult with members, listen to what they say and include this in the SHIP.
“We’re likely to know in December if our proposals to build the first new Council houses in this area for three decades will be successful, but the Council is already committed to improving and building on our existing stock of housing in order to meet increasing demand for houses to rent.
“Our strategy has taken into account the changing nature of this area and is forward looking in terms of how we can accommodate the needs of elderly, homeless and vulnerable people in this community and we will continue to do all we can to deliver on this.
“The SHIP is an important element in delivering the Council’s vision of making South Ayrshire the most dynamic, inclusive and sustainable community in Scotland”.
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