Council hits halfway mark in £150m affordable housing plan

Tenant Maria McKenzie, left, and Councillors Judy Hamilton and David Ross at the latest affordable housing development at Orebank Terrace, Thornton.
Tenant Maria McKenzie, left, and Councillors Judy Hamilton and David Ross at the latest affordable housing development at Orebank Terrace, Thornton.

Fife has turned the key on its newest affordable homes, marking the midway milestone in an ambitious £150 million building programme.

The latest housing is part of Fife Council’s wider pledge to increase the number of affordable homes for rent across Fife.

A number of sites have been built already or are under way to meet the target to deliver 2700 new affordable homes by 2017.

Councillor Judy Hamilton, the Council’s executive spokesperson for Housing and Building Services, said: “The first few years of the programme were all about identifying opportunities, consulting with communities, developing plans and gaining planning permission. By its very nature, as we enter the final year, things are really picking up pace.

“As well as half of the homes now being occupied, the programme also has 23 other housing developments under construction across Fife.”

Cllr Hamilton visited the latest development, at Orebank Terrace, Thornton, with Council leader David Ross to celebrate the achievement.

Cllr Ross said: “It’s great to be here to mark the halfway point in the programme and see people settling into new, good quality, rented accommodation that fits their needs. We’ll see the remainder of the Programme really speed up now with the other developments under construction progressing well.

“Fife Council is investing over £150 million in this programme and, despite significant financial challenges, it’s vital that we continue to invest in more desperately needed, good quality affordable housing. Not only are these new homes transforming the lives of the tenants who move into them, it’s freeing up their old homes for rent to others in housing need too.”

The 31 new homes for rent at Orebank Terrace are a mix of bungalows, cottage flats and two storey houses, ranging from one bedroom to five and include wheelchair and amenity housing.

Maria McKenzie, who recently moved into her new home in the development, said: “Since moving in I feel very settled. The house is more fuel efficient and being on two levels instead of three is so much easier to manage.

“The street is very attractive and it’s a pleasant place to live with great neighbours and beautiful surroundings. I was worried about moving from a four bed into a two bed, particularly for storage, but I am pleasantly surprised.”

The development was built in-house by the Council, which means build quality is beyond industry standard with sprinkler systems and have good insulation to help tackle fuel poverty.

Cllr Hamilton added: “As well as the obvious end benefits, developments like this across Fife are able to offer fantastic opportunities for apprentices to gain really valuable experience.

“It also means more local contractors and suppliers are trading with us which helps to boost the local economy too.”

This development in Thornton was supported by £155,000 of Scottish Government grant funding.