Innovation Exchange

Bridge Homes

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Further Information

The need for affordable housing was increasing in Scottish Borders with new supply projected to decline. Scottish Borders Council (SBC) had sites that could not be disposed of and Local Developers were telling us of their concerns about being able to stay in the development Industry and their inability to retain modern apprenticeships. However, ten years after transferring all of our housing stock and no housing revenue account it was particularly challenging to see if we could get the business case to stack up and to determine if we had the skills and capabilities to undertake a Council-led house programme.

 

Theme: Housing and Regeneration

scottish borders council

Following a positive decision by Councillors and in discussion with Scottish Futures Trust (“SFT”) we decided that we had the capabilities and the enthusiasm to seek to develop a business case underpinned by the National Housing Trust (NHT) Local Authority “Variant” model. We worked in partnership with our main developing Registered Social Landlords (RSL) to engage with Local Developers and site owners and developed a three year indicative affordable house programme that had the potential to deliver up to 200 new homes for mid-market rent in Borders. The programme consisted of private sector sites, sites in RSL ownership and Council owned sites. The approach was also based on the development of a flexible procurement approach

A very robust approach was adopted which has benefits not just for additional affordable housing, but for a wide range of Council corporate objectives and is supporting struggling developers. We have received interest from other Authorities to learn from our governance and approach adopted and to date have delivered 31 new mid-market homes, with 21 more on track to complete by March 2017.  Additional development opportunities are being followed up as they are identified

Many land owners have “pre-crash” land valuations in mind. The Local Housing Allowance is a key determining factor in project financial viability, which has a differential impact across settlements reflecting a range of property values.

 The Council has made provision in its Capital Plan to borrow up to £18.8m from Public Works Loan Board if required. In addition it has agreed to make available £3.3m of Second Homes/Council Tax Funding to support this initiative.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Gery Begg

Housing Strategy Manager

01896 662770

Case study added to site: June 2016

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