D&G Strategic Housing Investment Plan Is Great Success

The Strategic Housing Investment Plan, otherwise known as SHIP sets out key priorities for affordable housing development in our region and identifies the resources needed to deliver the project.

Dumfries and Galloway Council recognises that poor housing can contribute to a range of socio-economic challenges and the delivery of the Council’s SHIP can help tackle the negative effects on the lives of our most vulnerable residents. These include people on low incomes and those who are homeless or have specialist housing needs. The economic benefits of delivering new affordable housing also benefits those who are employed in the construction industry because of this programme.

The Council’s role is to provide strategic direction to the programme and enable delivery of new projects. At the meeting of this Council’s Communities Committee (6th September) Members will hear an update on the SHIP, including a number of new projects and will be asked to agree the removal of the projects which our development partners no longer consider deliverable within the Plan period.

There are clear links between good quality housing and improved health. In addition, there are the added benefits of energy efficiency, warmth, good ventilation, space and safety. As well as this a portion of the new housing will be designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. For example, 4 fully wheelchair accessible homes are to be built on the Carrs Billington site in Annan by Cunninghame Housing Association following consultation with local residents.

Early indications from our Registered Social Landlord (RSL’s) partners are that they will be able to fully utilise all funding allocations within our region for this financial year. They will add to the overall level of investment by raising their own private finance to meet the total costs of new housing.

Resource Planning Assumptions (RPA’s) indicate the annual amount of grant available to support the delivery of new housing. Our affordable housing development partners have already utilised £9.9 million of the allocated RPA for Dumfries and Galloway. This resulted in 142 unit approvals, 88 site starts and 44 completions. This spend is an increase from 2015/16 and 2016/17 when £7.3 million and £8.1 million respectively was invested in projects to deliver new developments contained in the SHIP. Projections for 2018/19 currently indicate that there will be 421 unit site starts and 174 unit completions, which will fully utilise the allocated funding of £19.279 million.

Chair of Communities Committee, Cllr Andy Ferguson said: “I am delighted with this hugely successful project. Dumfries and Galloway has been assigned the eighth largest RPA allocation in Scotland which highlights the significant role this area will play in meeting the national housing supply target. Our partners, Cunninghame Housing Association, DGHP and Loreburn Housing Association have requested a number of new sites to be considered for inclusion in the plan, including sites at Dumfries, Newton Stewart, Johnstone Bridge, Eastriggs, Langholm, Springholm and Stranraer. This will not only help people in our region to acquire good quality, affordable housing, but will also attract further investment to boost our region’s economy.”
Vice Chair of Communities, John Martin went on to say: “This project stretches further than the types of developments already mentioned. Partnership Support for Regeneration is also available to provide eligible developers with funding to bridge the gap between the costs of a development project and the sales value of the houses upon completion. The developers will obtain a defined return on the sale of the properties which will be sold to ‘priority purchasers’, such as first-time buyers, people who are unable to obtain social housing, people returning to the area for work or family reasons or local resident who are renting due to lack of opportunities to purchase their own home. “

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