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Tax cash for Lochside regeneration

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Tax cash for Lochside regeneration

MONEY collected from council tax on empty and second homes looks set to be reinvested in the regeneration of Lochside.

Dumfries and Galloway Council housing chiefs are proposing that £125,000 raked in from these taxing streams is handed over to Wheatley Homes South.

And Wheatley would then spend the cash on developing its masterplan which will lead to new, high-quality, affordable homes that meet the needs of local people.

This masterplan is to be community-led and hundreds of Lochside residents have already helped shape the proposals through surveys, online engagement, and in meetings.

lan Glasgow, managing director of Wheatley Homes South, said last month that the plan is to continue “speaking with customers and engaging with them on what they want from the regeneration of the area.”

The next steps will be discussed at the council’s economy and resources committee next Tuesday where an update report on the regeneration of Lochside will be tabled.

Jamie Little, the council’s strategic housing and regeneration investment team leader, wrote: “The key output will be a visual, strategic masterplan document which sets out the vision and principles to guide future development of the regeneration of Lochside, in line with the outcomes of the community consultations.

“The masterplan will identify the opportunities and constraints of the area, clearly identify appropriate solutions for future detailed investigation and align with a suitable delivery strategy.

“This requires input from a number of specialist services such as structural and civil engineering, landscape architects, transport, flood and ecology.

“Income that is received under the flexibility of reducing long-term empty and second-homes discount is subject to legislative arrangements.

“It is often referred to as ‘council tax on second homes’.

“Local authorities may disburse these funds to other organisations including registered social landlords, and income must be used to support expenditure related to affordable housing activity.”

The housing team is seeking the approval of councillors on the economy and resources committee for £125,000 to be handed to Wheatley Homes South to develop the Lochside masterplan.

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