Council closes in on target of 2700 new affordable homes

New council homes have been built in Fife
New council homes have been built in Fife

Fife Council has agreed an investment strategy which should deliver all but a few hundred of a promised 2700 new affordable homes.

Councillor David Ross, depute Council leader, hailed the agreement as “great news” but admitted there was still a huge amount of work to be done to ensure everyone in Fife had a decent place to live.

Following last year’s elections, one of the first pledges made by the Council’s Labour administration was to deliver 2700 affordable homes across the kingdom by 2017.

Cllr Ross promised every effort was being made to achieve that target, and believed the agreement approved by the Council’s executive committee would go a long way towards it.

He said: “We have a housing crisis in Fife with around 12,000 people on waiting and transfer lists, including 2500 suffering or threatened with homelessness. We are working hard with our housing association partners to deliver our target of 2700 new affordable homes by 2017.

“The strategy we agreed sets out where many of these new homes will be built and how they will be funded.

“So far we have identified how 2306 new affordable homes can be provided. This is already 1000 more than were provided over the last five years.

“But everyone in Fife deserves to have the comfort and security of a decent home that meets their needs and that they can afford, so we will be pushing as hard as we can to find ways of building the remaining 400 properties needed to hit our ambitious target.”

Cllr Ross said an additional £85 million had been committed towards the housing programme, and the Council would continue to make the case to the Scottish Government for more funding for affordable housing.

“This is clearly the right thing to do,” he said. “Building new affordable homes not only addresses the housing crisis but it saves money in many other ways such as by improving health and reducing fuel poverty.

“It also creates much needed jobs and apprentice places in the Fife economy.”

Derek Muir, Fife Council’s head of housing, said there were options available to bridge the gap between the number of homes identified and the 2700 target.

He told the committee the Council was looking to broker further deals with the private sector, although Councillor Peter Grant, SNP group leader, expressed concerns that such homes – probably in the ‘mid-market rent’ category – would not be affordable to the people who needed them most.

Councillor Alex Rowley, Council leader, said: “Housing should be a basic right for everyone in Fife, and we will do everything we can to achieve that.”