West Lothian Council sets £100m housing budget
West Lothian Council will spend over £100 million over the next three years to increase and improve its existing housing stock.
The new investment, approved at a meeting of the local authority yesterday, will see more than £55m spent on the creation and acquisition of new homes.
This includes the completion of the council’s current new build council housing programme with the addition of a further 250 new build homes.
Open Market Acquisitions will continue to be incorporated into the programme, as the council continues to look at expanding the housing supply working alongside Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and other partners to achieve the aim of delivering 3,000 new houses during the period 2012-2022.
Working in conjunction with RSLs and partners, West Lothian Council has delivered more than 2,000 affordable homes since the beginning of 2012.
The new build project will continue to bring a number of benefits to the community such as training and employment opportunities for apprentices, local people and businesses and will continue to help tackle the high demand for affordable housing in West Lothian.
The capital programme for housing will also invest over £45m to improve the existing stock.
A broad range of activities, including decoration and internal upgrades, window and door refurbishments, painting and fencing programmes will be funded as part of a planned programme of works.
Planned work will continue on general environmental improvements and external upgrading, including tenant-led street improvement projects.
Although many works are of a small scale, these projects can have a substantial impact on local amenities and the community.
A portion of this budget will also go towards a Community Choices, Participatory Budgeting exercise which will see local communities decide how this resource will be used. Further information on this will be published in due course.
Major refurbishments include the completion of regeneration work at the Bathville flats in Armadale as well as the continuation of roof, render, stair and balcony works at the Lochs Scheme in Whitburn.
There will be enhanced investment in external wall insulation work in council houses and a programme to deliver energy efficiency measures including central heating replacements will take place to ensure all properties are compliant with Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) standards by December 2020.
A continuation of the rent increase of 3% per annum for council homes and garages has also been approved by West Lothian Council. This follows on from a recent consultation with tenants which indicated that the majority of responses from tenants supported a 3% rent increase per annum.
Executive councillor for services for the community, George Paul, said: “West Lothian Council remains committed to providing new, high-quality homes for the people of West Lothian.
“A significant amount of investment is going towards the completion of the council’s new build housing programme with new homes being constructed across West Lothian and a number of houses being acquired in a drive to further increase the housing stock.
“As well as providing new council homes, there will be a renewed focus on the maintenance and refurbishment of properties, to continue to maintain the Scottish Quality Housing Standard.
“The vast majority of our tenants indicated via consultation that they are happy with the services we provide and the council will endeavour to always look to see how we can continue to improve for our customers.”