In February 2013, the Housing and Health Committee approved a report recommending the renovation of 15 Council properties at Old Mill Road, Rattray, Blairgowrie. These difficult to let properties had been derelict for a number of years and as well as detracting from the look of the local area; there was a considerable loss of revenue to Perth and Kinross Council. Permission was granted to renovate the properties on the basis that they would:
- Meet some of the housing need in the Rattray area enabling households on the waiting list to remain in the area and maintain schooling, social and employment links.
- Improve the standard and choice of affordable housing opportunities.
- Improve the area from an environmental point of view.
- Create a safer, sustainable community.
The renovation focused on the inclusion of ‘eco features’, aimed at improving the thermal performance of the properties and lowering carbon emissions. The houses are located outwith the mains gas network and the works included the provision of insulation to the exterior walls, loft insulation, under-floor insulation and triple glazing along with the installation of insulated external door sets and energy efficient heating systems, incorporating solar water heating.
To address any previous negative factors for the site, the Project Team developed a plan that would:
- Create a sustainable community
- Minimise any possible stigmatisation of tenants and residents
- Protect residents from nuisance and anti-social behaviour
- Create a sense of community and promote a sense of pride in the area
There were three key components to achieving these aims. The first was to fully involve the community and new prospective tenants in all aspects of the project.
Secondly it was also agreed that a Local Lettings Plan would be introduced along with a marketing strategy to promote the desirability of the area as a good place to live. Local Lettings plans are widely used by social housing providers as a way of promoting balanced and sustainable communities.
In addition, a Neighbourhood Agreement was drawn up in collaboration with a range of internal and external partners. Tenants and residents were also involved in producing this agreement which complements the Scottish Secure Tenancy Agreement which all tenants sign up to.
Work to the properties started in October/November 2013 and was completed in July 2014. Tenants moved into their new tenancies on 14 July 2014. A considerable amount of work was carried out in partnership with new tenants and existing residents in advance of the properties being ready for occupation.