Council tackles housing waiting list nightmare

AN ARBROATH councillor has told the Arbroath Herald that he is “very excited” by new proposals which will help reduce the number of families languishing on Angus Council house waiting lists.

This newspaper often highlights the plight of families in accommodation which is far too small, with children of opposite sexes having to share rooms.

The problems the authority is addressing are caused by the shortage of suitable houses to rent, many having been sold off to their tenants under the discontinued ‘right to buy’ legislation.

But Councillor Jim Millar has revealed that they have found a way to divert savings to the construction of ‘for rent’ dwellings.

Mr Millar continued: “The announcement will see the council invite local developers, land-owners and landlords to submit proposals for building new affordable homes in Angus within a framework that aims to meet identified housing need, offers real value for money and fits with the current local plan.”

“We are funding the proposal by restructuring the housing division, which will see the senior management budget reduced by 55 per cent with no redundancies. This money will unlock £3.2 million in prudential borrowing, which we will use to provide affordable housing by working with the Angus Builders Federation.

“Angus receives the lowest Government funding for housing in mainland Scotland, and the recent budget announcement will make the shortfall worse. It is clear that days of large subsidies for affordable house building are gone, and this proposal offers our private sector partners an opportunity to bring forward new, innovative and modern ideas which have partnership, value for money and a long term commitment to affordable homes in Angus at their heart.”

Mr Millar has been working closely with senior staff for some months to bring this forward.

He went on: “I am delighted to announce this substantial and innovative investment, which I believe is the first of its kind in Scotland.

“By doing this, we will also create employment and training opportunities, build much needed homes and develop a new and lasting open relationship with local organisations, and I hope today will be just the start of things to come and will create local solutions to local needs.”

Further proposals will be brought before the neighbourhood services committee early in the New Year.