Council ‘land bank’ plan

FOLLOWING on from Angus Council’s recent proposal to turn two former factory units in Arbroath into social housing under the ‘Survive & Thrive’ initiative, an Arbroath East councillor has welcomed further news that the local authority is setting up a group which will look at all potential housing sites around Angus.

Councillors at the neighbourhood services committee on Thursday agreed for the director and the director of corporate services to establish a land asset sub-group which will compile a list of potential housing development land available from council and community planning partners.

Councillor Donald Morrison, one of the committee members, said: “When the economy crashed three years ago, I suggested then that Angus Council should be looking at land banking and land usage for social housing as it was inevitable the banking crisis would have an adverse affect on the housing market.

“With the economy still in the balance and the housing market stagnating, I am pleased the council is finally looking at what land and buildings could be utilised for further social housing.”

He went on: “We have already seen the ‘Survive & Thrive’ initiative bring forward proposals for new housing at the former factory unit in Ernest Street and the Baltic Mill in the town, so it is important a complete audit is carried out to identify other potential plots and land to further increase the social housing stock.

“For instance, there a few council properties, such as the former Chapelpark Primary School in Forfar, which the council rushed to place on the open market just after the 2008 crash and still remain unsold.

“The longer these properties remaining empty, the more money is required to be spent keeping them wind and water tight.”