NEARLY £62m will be handed to Dumfries and Galloway Council to provide more affordable housing over the next three years.
It was recently confirmed that the local authority will receive just over £20m from the Scottish Government between 2023/24 and 2025/26 for the construction of new homes.
And Wheatley Homes South have recently brought forward plans to build 56 new houses at Challoch, Leswalt, for social rent to individuals and families.
This is welcome news for the council’s housing department, which recently reported record numbers of homelessness applications and a shortage of properties to cope with demand.
An annual review of the council’s strategic housing investment plan has been published and will be tabled at the economy and resources committee next Tuesday.
It reads: “The Scottish Government have made a commitment to invest over £3.44 billion nationally in affordable housing over this parliamentary term.
“To allow Dumfries and Galloway Council to plan delivery for 2023/24 to 2025/26, a total RPA (resource planning assumptions) of £61.841m has been allocated to the region.”
The Council transferred its housing stock to DGHP, now known as Wheatley Homes South, in 2003 and, as a result, strong working relationships are required with Wheatley and other housing association partners to deliver the council’s strategic housing investment plan (SHIP).
Council housing chiefs have been meeting regularly with these development partners about how to maximise this confirmed investment from the Scottish Government.
The government investment will be split is as follows: 2023/24 – £20.453m, 2024/25 – £20.524m, and 2025/26 – £20.864m.
However, with partner housing associations supplementing these sums with their own funds, it is forecast that a “significantly greater sum” will be invested overall in affordable housing in Dumfries and Galloway.
Opportunities that leverage further investment will also be identified, such as applying to the national Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme and Place Based Investment Programme.
Affordable housing projects have already been taken forward at sites including the former academy in Lockerbie, Station Road in Dalbeattie, and Lincluden Stables in Dumfries.
And while there is considerable funding available for providing further affordable housing, there are several challenges in delivering these homes.
The council report highlighted the rise in demand for housing options and homelessness services, an increase in construction costs, and even the capacity in the construction sector for large scale building developments.
The report states: “The council and its partner organisations are actively looking for ways to bring new private sector housebuilders into the area.”
At next week’s economy and resources committee, councillors will be asked to agree the draft strategic housing investment plan for 2023/24. Subsequently, a finalised plan will be submitted to the Scottish Government prior to the deadline of October 27.