Council to purchase homes at development of former DWP office in Coatbridge

Proposals to purchase new ‘off the shelf’ homes in the heart of Coatbridge were given the green light as North Lanarkshire Council’s supply of affordable homes continues to progress.

Outlined were plans to purchase new homes built as part of a proposed conversion project of the former Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) office building in Coatbridge Town Centre, which will drive forward the council’s vision to refocus the town centres and communities to multi-functional connected places.

Developer ML5 Ltd proposes to convert this derelict building into 39 flats by repurposing the office space to deliver homes for rent in this central location. These properties would be purchased under the council’s Development Pathfinder Scheme, introduced in support of the council’s new build programme, allowing it to work with housing developers to buy new ‘off the shelf’ homes.

This well-known local building has lain empty for four years and its proposed conversion would deliver new, affordable homes and supplements the ambitious council house building programme to deliver 5,000 new homes by 2035.

Approval was given for project proposals and costs in principle, together with proposals to purchase the completed homes from ML5 Ltd subject to a number of factors. These include planning permission, approval of the acquisition process by the council’s finance and resources committee and agreeing missives.

Councillor Heather Brannan-McVey, convener of housing and regeneration, said: “These are exciting proposals that will not only bring a derelict building in the heart of the town back into use but provide much needed new housing for rent and boost the local economy.

“One of the appealing aspects of this proposal is that it’s converting this building rather than demolishing and delivering a new build. This is carbon saving through the retention of the existing materials and less use of energy intensive and carbon emitting new materials such as concrete.

“In addition to building our own new council homes we also look at a number of innovative ways to add to our housing supply and our Development Pathfinder Scheme is an excellent example of how we can do this.

“Our new supply programme continues to contribute to the regeneration of our town centres, which is one of the main priorities within our Economic Regeneration Delivery Plan, and part of the council’s vision to make North Lanarkshire the place to live, learn, work, invest and visit.”

The project proposals consist of 39 flats with a mixture of one-bedroom (20) and two-bedrooms (19) properties. Two (two-bed, 3-person) wheelchair flats are included in the housing mix on the ground floor. All 39 homes would be bought by the council when completed.

Working with the developer throughout the build process, the council has said it will ensure these homes are delivered with the same high specification we incorporate in all of our new council homes. These will be designed for the future with a range of innovative features including being flexible enough to adapt as a tenant’s circumstances change, meeting the secure by design standard and boasting a ‘very good’ energy efficiency rating, saving tenants money on their bills while protecting the environment.

Further progress for the delivery of new council homes was also noted following the outcome of the consultation process on the proposal to convert Municipal Buildings, Kildonan Street, Coatbridge, into housing for social rent and office accommodation.

Local residents, local members and other stakeholders commented on North Lanarkshire Council’s plans for the Grade B Listed building with the majority in favour of the change in use that will preserve an important part of the heritage of Coatbridge.

The committee reconfirmed its decision of May 20 to include Kildonan Street in its new supply housing programme.

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