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PM promises thousands of new homes and radical planning reform

PM Boris Johnson (pictured) has pledged that, as part of a suite of measures to rebuild the economy following the COVID-19 crisis, the government will aim to build thousands of new homes on Brownfield sites and others.

Johnson also flagged ‘radical’ upcoming planning reform at levels that he claimed have not been seen since the end of World War 2.

He also promised that the economic crisis would not be met with a return to austerity measures.

During the announcement, Johnson said: “We’re preparing now slowly, cautiously to come out of hibernation, and I believe it’s absolutely vital for us to set out the way ahead, so that everyone can think and plan for the future, short, medium and long-term.”

In reference to home building, specifically, he added: “There has been an intergenerational injustice and the government will now help to get the young on the housing ladder just as their parents did.

“Build, build, build. Build better. Build faster.”

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Managing Director of estate agent Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister is a rallying call to commerce, industry, the property sector and finance, to piggy-back his huge spending plans and literally put Britain back together again.

We seem set to spend our way to fiscal health and to ensure, in particular, that there is finally a genuine home-building revolution to match similar investment intentions in the transport, education and health sectors.

What a welcome relief this is and at just the right time.”

Marc von Grundherr, director of lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves commented: “Like many areas of life, the severe lack of homes being built has understandably taken a back seat.

“However, it now stands as one of the pillars on which the government is forming its economic recovery plan.

“Hopefully, this added emphasis on such a burning issue will result in some action and this will be nothing but positive for the UK property market.

“Of course, there is always the danger that, like many before him, the Prime Minister’s words will equate to little more than just that.

“With the UK property market still facing a very uncertain landscape, we certainly hope this isn’t the case.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: “While, of course, the announcement of more building is very welcome we want to see more specifics, not just on desperately-needed affordable housing projects but a strict timetable for delivery, especially of sites with planning.

“So many of the larger schemes in particular are mired in planning or lending red tape so certainly the concentration on infrastructure will help to release many from that log jam by improving connectivity.”

Mark Hayward, chief executive at NAEA Propertymark, said: “Propertymark welcomes the Prime Minister’s ambition to bounce back as we enter the new phase of this pandemic.

“It is important that as we try to reboot the economy we build a greater supply of affordable houses that can rejuvenate urban areas most affected by this crisis.

“Simplification of the planning process will ease the pressures caused on the supply of homes and ensure the property market drives the UK’s economic recovery.

“We look forward to working with government during its White Paper process later this month to ensure the system has less red tape and is easier to navigate.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Shropshire Council to build 1,000 homes over five years under new plans

Shropshire Council has announced plans to to build 1,000 new houses, including 400 council homes, over the next five years.

Following decisions made at a full council meeting in February, the authority’s housing company, Cornovii Developments Limited, will have access to a rolling loan facility of £35 million, on top of a £14m loan previously agreed.

The project will run until 2025.

The council also agreed in principle for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA), which holds the authority’s 4,100 council homes and is managed by Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing (STaR Housing), to borrow £10m per year over the next five years. This, together with HRA reserves and potential grant funding, amounts to a £75m investment in new housing.

Both companies will provide a mix of housing tenures to help address an unmet housing need in Shropshire. This will include ‘affordable’ rent, low-cost home ownership, private rented, and open market sales.

Key workers
Development will include homes specifically built for key workers, veterans, older people, those with learning and physical disabilities, and those struggling to afford or buy on the open market.

Shropshire Council said it is focused on integrating health, education, employment, transport, shopping, leisure and amenity needs into any new development.

The authority added that the new homes across the county will help support the local economy, create new jobs and apprenticeships, and generate additional value to reinvest into council services.

Robert Macey, cabinet member for housing and strategic planning, said: “A great deal of work has gone into identifying the unmet housing need in Shropshire.

“This unprecedented level of local investment presents us with a unique opportunity to build the quality, reasonably-priced homes that people and their families need, whilst at the same time helping to address many of the other housing challenges facing our county.”

Mark Barrow, executive director of place, said: “This announcement demonstrates our determination to build the homes Shropshire needs.

“Last year, affordable housing accounted for just 14 per cent of overall new builds in the county. Our plans commit the council to delivering 40 per cent affordable housing across the portfolio of our new housing and business plans.”

By Rory Smith

Source: Shropshire Star

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£215m Edinburgh build-to-rent scheme to create 476 new homes

Apache Capital Partners and Harrison Street, an alternative real asset investment firm, are to fund a landmark build-to-rent development in central Edinburgh that will be delivered and operated for the long term by Moda Living.

The £215 million scheme, known as Springside, will include 476 new homes alongside 48 existing full-leased studio and one two-bedroom apartments. It will also include shops and leisure space.

Apache Capital and Moda Living purchased the Springside site, which included the 48 existing homes, in March 2017 from Grosvenor Great Britain and Ireland.

Grosvenor, which is one of the UK’s oldest property companies, was said to have specifically chosen Apache and Moda for the two firms’ BTR expertise.

The Fountainbridge site will offer access to entertainment, shopping, public transportation as well as proximity to some of the city’s largest employers including Pricewaterhouse- Coopers, Ernst & Young and BlackRock.

It will also have communal lounges, health and wellbeing facilities plus roof terraces and a private dining room with unique views of Edinburgh Castle, as well as managed communal gardens. The site will be centred around new landscaped public squares, with claims it will create an “urban village” with a year-long calendar of events and activities for residents and the wider public.

John Dunkerley, chief executive and co-founder of Apache said: ”We are committed to delivering and expanding our build-to-rent pipeline with both Harrison Street and Moda Living despite the near-term disruption being caused by Covid-19.”

He said “there remains a fundamental mismatch between supply and demand for high quality purpose-built rental housing in the UK and for investors seeking long-term, steady income streams from assets with defensive, counter-cyclical qualities, build-to-rent remains highly attractive as a sector”.

By Brian Donnelly

Source: Herald Scotland

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Government scheme to cut cost of First Homes by a third

Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced plans cutting the cost of some new homes by a third. The First Homes scheme will see a discount locked into the property to ensure more first-time buyers benefit in years to come. Local people unable to afford a home will be able to buy in their area, rather than be forced to look elsewhere by rising prices.

The scheme will lower deposit and mortgage requirements for local first-time buyers in England shaking up the housing market and making the dream of home ownership a reality. The discount will apply to a proportion of new homes, with the government consulting on how this will be delivered.

Veterans will be prioritised as part of Armed Forces Covenant and councils will also be able to use the scheme for front-line workers in their area such as police, nurses, prison officers and teachers.

Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: “First Homes will be genuinely life-changing for people all over the country looking to buy their first home.

“I know that many who are seeking to buy their own home in their local areas have been forced out due to rising prices. A proportion of new homes will be made available at a 30% market discount rate – turning the dial on the dream of home ownership.

“The discount will be passed on with the sale of the property to future first-time buyers, helping thousands more people in years to come and ensuring local communities can stick together.”

The average price of a newly-built home in England is £314,000. Under First Homes, a property sold with 30% off this price would deliver a £94,000 saving and enable first-time buyers to get on the ladder faster by taking more than £18,000 off a 20% deposit.

The average newly-built home in Cornwall costs £246,000, meaning a 30% discount delivers a saving worth more than £73,000. Areas with particular affordability pressures will see even greater savings with a 30% discount.

The government is committed to delivering more than one million new homes over the next 5 years to further improve the affordability of housing. The proposals published today, which could see tens of thousands of First Homes being built, include measures to help release more land.

More than 240,000 new homes were delivered in 2018-19 – more new homes than at any point in the last 30 years.

And the latest figures show more than 250,000 energy performance certificates being issued to new homes in 2019 – the highest number ever, suggesting further progress being made.

The government is determined to rebalance the housing market to support homeownership through new schemes such as First Homes, building on existing support including Help to Buy equity loans which have helped more than 190,000 people take their first step on the property ladder.

The latest figures show the number of first-time buyers reaching 357,090 – an 11-year annual high and an increase of 84% since 2010 – and the percentage of home owning 25 to 34-year-olds has grown from 36% to 41% over the last 5 years.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the Homeowners Alliance, said: “We know that first-time buyers will welcome the opportunity to buy a good quality home at a discount in their local area.

“We look forward to contributing to the consultation and working with the government to ensure that the scheme does what it says on the tin – more high quality and affordable local homes for current and future first-time buyers.”

The scheme will apply the discount in perpetuity, so when the home is sold in years to come the new local buyer will be able to purchase it at a discount as well.

The measures build on action from the government to make it easier for people across the country to take their first step on the property ladder, including:

  • Consulting on a new national model for shared ownership enabling more people to take their first step on to the housing ladder by reducing the initial share that has to be bought, and then enabling them to take further steps in 1% increments. Instead of having to purchase chunks of 10%. A consultation on these new measures was published in August and the Government will respond in due course with further details.
  • Extending the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme to 2023 and ensuring that developers who work with us meet the standards and quality that customers expect and deserve.

Further information

The government has today launched a consultation on the design of the new First Homes scheme.

To ensure the scheme helps those who would benefit the most, the government is consulting on a price cap on properties available through the scheme, as it has done for Stamp Duty cuts and the new Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

The consultation proposes that current and recent Armed Forces personnel will be taken to have met the local eligibility criteria for First Homes in any local area under any circumstances.

The discount will be paid for through the contributions that housing developers routinely provide through the planning system. These contributions are an established mechanism for ensuring that new developments deliver benefits for local communities. This means that the First Homes scheme will not result in extra building costs.

Source: Property118

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West Midlands records highest ever house-building numbers

JUST under 17,000 new homes were built in the West Midlands last year – the most ever recorded in the region.

Figures published by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) this week show that 16,938 new homes were built in the region across 2018/19, representing a 15.8 per cent increase on the previous year.

The authority currently has a target to build 215,000 new homes by 2031, something it appears on course to do with these latest figures.

However, papers also note that there remains a ‘considerable under supply of affordable housing.’

Last year 3,801 ‘affordable homes’ were built in the West Midlands, representing 22 per cent of the overall total – a figure which meets the WMCA’s 20 per cent target.

But figures also show that this housing ‘is particularly concentrated in certain pockets of the region’ – something which mayor Andy Street says needs to change if the WMCA’s house building drive is to be considered a success.

“Housebuilding is one of the West Midlands’ real success stories of the last few years and I am delighted that we are well ahead of schedule to build the 215,000 homes we need by 2031,” he said.

“The figures clearly show that the West Midlands is leading a brownfield-first housing revolution in the UK.

“What is most pleasing however is we are building the vast majority of new homes on brownfield land, protecting the region’s precious greenbelt. We are doing this through our brownfield first policy, which, thanks to cash from Government, sees the WMCA remediate derelict industrial sites that have sat untouched for decades.

“However there is plenty more still to be done, particularly around the number of affordable homes being built. To help tackle this the WMCA is introducing a new requirement that any housing development that uses WMCA funds must be at least 20% affordable.”

By Tom Dare

Source: Hereford Times

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Bexley is home to the lowest level of new homes in capital

The London borough of Bexley is in the most need of new build housing stock out of any borough in London, research from Stone Real Estate has found.

Stone Real Estate looked at what proportion of homes listed on the major property portals were new build as a percentage of all stock listed, as well as the boroughs with highest demand based on the largest number of new build properties already listed as sold.

With just 2.5% of all stock currently listed as new builds, Bexley is home to the lowest level of new homes in the capital.

Other boroughs to rank with some of the lowest levels of new build stock are Redbridge (3.1%), Kensington and Chelsea (4%), Waltham Forest (4.2%) and Richmond (4.3%).

The City of London is home to the highest level of new homes with 29.9% of all stock listed for sale falling into the category. Tower Hamlets also ranks high at 23.6%, with Hackney (19.8%), Newham (15.9%) and Lambeth (14.7%) home to a good amount of new build stock.

The only borough to see a higher level of homebuyer demand for new build homes is Bromley with 40% of all new build homes already listed as sold. Sutton (30.2%), Kingston (26.9%) and Waltham Forest (26.8%) were also home to a large appetite for new builds.

While the City of London is home to the largest proportion of new build stock, it’s also home to the lowest level of new build homebuyer demand, with just 3.4% of all new builds listed marked as sold.

Michael Stone, founder and CEO of Stone Real Estate, said: “There’s no denying that we are in desperate need of more housing across the capital and a large proportion of that needs to be affordable, a factor that can often be overlooked when trying to balance the books.

“While house building is a complex task and certainly can’t be done overnight, the data does suggest that perhaps some of our new build efforts across the capital have been poorly targeted and in fact, some of the areas with the lowest level of new homes are the areas where buyers are crying out for them.

“It really is vital that we address the current housing crisis but we do so in a sensible manner to ensure that what we are building is available to those that need it, and doesn’t spend months languishing on the portals due to an unobtainable price tag, or a lack of buyer appetite.”

Westminster was the second-lowest at 7.7% and again, while Hackney and Tower Hamlets are home to some of the highest levels of new build stock, they also ranked low for buyer demand at 8.3% and 8.9% respectively.

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Why new homes are key to UK prosperity

The U.K. faces a significant housing challenge. In simple terms, there are not enough new homes being built each year to meet the demands of the population.

The U.K. government has set a target to see 300,000 new homes built annually by the mid-2020s in an attempt to solve the national housing shortage. So there is serious work to be done.

Lloyds Banking Group has an important role to play in helping people across Britain to get a home. The organization has made several pledges around housing as part of its most recent prosper plan and is making good progress towards them. A healthy housing market is a key indicator of broader economic strength and that’s why housing is core to the Group’s commitment to help Britain prosper.

Forming a new type of partnership

Housing Growth Partnership (HGP) is a social-impact equity investor. It was established in 2015 as a joint venture between Lloyds Banking Group and Homes England. The formation was unique — the first housing focused public—private partnership with the U.K. government.

When we established the partnership, we had two very clear and specific goals in mind: to support the sustainable growth of regional residential developers across the U.K. through investment and mentoring; and to accelerate housing delivery. We know that one of the chief obstacles preventing small firms from growing and developing in the housing industry is capital constraints, and we established the partnership to help with this. HGP invests in residential projects, freeing up housebuilder equity that can be used on other schemes.

HGP was founded with an initial £100 million of seed capital and, following additional investment, now has nearly £1 billion-worth of homes under construction across the U.K. — over 3,000 new homes.

We’ll kick start the construction of another 1,000 homes by 2020 and aim to have delivered 10,000 homes by 2025.

First and foremost we’re focused on building homes. We’re already funding the build of thousands of new houses across the country. We’ll kick start the construction of another 1,000 homes by 2020 and aim to have delivered 10,000 homes by 2025.

Funding is one part of the puzzle, but the role of HGP goes beyond simply investing money. It seeks to be a genuine partner. We’re developing long-term relationships with smaller housebuilders, helping them to grow their businesses and the number of homes they are able to build across Britain. In fact, over the last 12 months our senior adviser panel of housing experts from across the U.K. has delivered more than 1,000 hours of free mentoring to small housebuilders. We all benefit when these firms can overcome those initial entry barriers, establish themselves in the industry and grow.

Addressing systemic challenges in the housing industry

It’s clear through the conversations we have with U.K. housebuilders that they face challenges at all stages of the development process.

A fundamental issue is the supply of skilled labor. I’m meeting with more and more of our partners who are looking to address this by employing apprentices. Many have formed connections with their local colleges and education centers, and are actively encouraging young people into the sector. Getting youngsters involved and engaged in housing helps create a pipeline of future leaders and also brings in a diverse range of innovative thinking.

This is where the partnership can make the most impact. By investing in companies across the housing supply chain, we can help firms employ more people, develop specialist skills and create more opportunities in the future.

We also lobby for crucial change across the industry and drive financial innovation in the sector. The determination of planning permissions, alongside the growing number of consented conditions to satisfy ahead of starting work on-site is a particular area of concern for housebuilders.

It’s clear through the conversations we have with U.K. housebuilders that they face challenges at all stages of the development process.

This complex and often difficult process limits their ability to grow their businesses and, in turn, increase the supply of new homes to the U.K. market. We are working hard with our partners to understand the key issues within the U.K. planning system and identify what can be done to address them. Alongside this, we are also looking at how we can support developers to introduce Modern Methods of Construction into their building processes.

Finding new solutions to the challenge of a skills and labor shortage, alongside the need to increase the speed of production and develop more energy-efficient homes will be key to the future success of the industry.

New solutions to housing challenges

We’re often asked ‘what comes next?’ There is so much innovation and development in housing at the moment and it’s evolving quickly. At the moment we are seeing a strong focus on Modern Methods of Construction.

What’s fascinating about this type of production is how efficient it is to produce units in a controlled environment — an environment that crucially, is weather proof. This could be a real game changer in the U.K.

What’s clear though is that the U.K.’s housing challenges cannot be solved in isolation. Genuine collaboration, both across the industry and in partnership with the U.K. government, will be crucial in driving further innovation and overcoming the challenges that the industry faces.

By ANDY HULME

Source: Politico

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New homes set for Nottingham city centre

Twenty new homes are being built in The Meadows area of Nottingham which will go to local families on Nottingham’s council house waiting list.

On behalf of Nottingham City Council – Nottingham City Homes (NCH) and contractor Woodhead Group will develop the homes on the site of the former Clifton Miners Welfare on Ainsworth Drive.

The two-bed houses are expected to be completed in spring 2020.

After planning permission was approved last year, these new homes are the latest for the Meadows area which form part of the city’s Building a Better Nottingham programme and follow the completion of 55 homes in June 2018.

Nick Murphy, chief executive at Nottingham City Homes, said: “There has been significant regeneration in the Meadows and we have invested in creating new homes there over the last few years. We are now creating a further 20 good quality new council homes – homes that people can be proud of and that they want to live in.

“Not only is it a busy year for us in terms of developments, we are also celebrating 100 years of council housing, when councils were first given the task of developing where it was needed. A hundred years later this is still our vision; we want to build warm and secure family homes that the people of Nottingham can afford to live in and these new properties will be no exception”.

Cllr Linda Woodings, portfolio holder for planning and housing at Nottingham City Council, said: “Working together with Nottingham City Homes and other partners, we are transforming Nottingham’s neighbourhoods, by regenerating sites which are no longer fit for purpose and replacing them with new, warm, safe and quality homes.

“Together we’re giving sites like the one in the Meadows a new purpose whilst creating opportunities for jobs and training and providing much needed housing which Nottingham people can afford to buy or rent in communities where people want to live and work”.

Leo Woodhead, director at Woodhead Group said: “Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham City Council share our commitment to deliver social value while building quality new homes. Having delivered the first ever CCS housing UltraSite together, we learned a lot and are really looking forward to working closely with the community and our supply chain partners to create a better experience for all.”

By Sam Metcalf

Source: The Business Desk

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This is where 6,800 homes could be built in Tunbridge Wells borough

Tunbridge Wells town would be better protected from large scale new house building if the council proposal goes ahead to put 6,800 homes at Tudeley and Paddock Wood.

The controversial proposal for the tiny village in the heart of the countryside and the small town were officially unveiled this week to parish councils.

Residents were getting to grips with the shock of the proposition put forward by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. which is grappling with a housing target more than doubled by the Government, to reach 13,500 new homes in the 20 years up to 2036. This is around 680 each year.

But while two areas could be changed forever during a timescale council leader Alan McDermott put at “probably 25 years” – Tunbridge Wells, which for years has seen controversial infilling, office conversions to residential, sizeable brownfield developments and new estates built or under way, might get something of a breather.

The proposals are in the draft Local Plan which will go out for public consultation in the early autumn.

Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough.

“Similarly, this option does not add such intense pressure to the existing infrastructure as much as other options would – for example, if the vast majority of the development were to be around the main urban area, Tunbridge Wells and Southborough.”

Mr McDermott said new infrastructure, potentially including schools, drainage, utility links, a road off the A228, doctors’ surgeries and employment development, would be built as part of the Tudeley and Paddock Wood proposal.

Talking of the council’s track record in Tunbridge Wells as the planning authority, Mr Baughen said: “We always look to prioritise previously developed land and the redevelopment of previously developed land but as you are seeing, a lot of the sites which have been identified as suitable for redevelopment sites in the previous Local Plan and the Site Allocation Local Plan now have planning permission or indeed are being built out.”

 This is where 6,800 homes could be built in Tunbridge Wells borough Commercial Finance Network
‘Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district?’ asked resident Petrina Lambert (Image: Lewis Durham)

He added: “This is a finite resource but this Local Plan looks again to make sure that suitable sites within the urban areas are being identified and allocated but a number of them have permission already.”

Petrina Lambert, who lives in Brampton Bank, Tudeley, said: “Our first reactions were shock, distress, upset then extremely angry.

“The whole idea made us feel sick. We moved here to live in a rural community that was now going to be destroyed.

“Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock Wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district?

“There is also the development at Woodgate Way in Tonbridge only two miles away and no infrastructure in place to support this and a new development with a sudden and large increase in this area’s population.

“It is the destruction of a small and happy community and that of an area of outstanding natural beauty that upsets us most and there are not the right words to describe the loss.”

 This is where 6,800 homes could be built in Tunbridge Wells borough Commercial Finance Network
Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough. (Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Local Plan will go out to public consultation

The original housing target of 6,000 new homes for Tunbridge Wells was more than doubled by the Government to 13,500 during the past few years.

The Local Plan, an evergreen and constantly updating document, is in its 2016 to 2036 planning period.

In order to work out how many homes need to be built in the future, the council must take account of the housing which has already been built or permitted since 2016.

This leaves 9,000 homes – and the council is putting forward Tudeley, which is little more than a large cluster of homes, and Paddock Wood, which had a 8,253 population in 2011, for around 6,800 of them.

The explosive proposal was unveiled officially to parish councils on Monday and Tuesday nights, although the borough council said it had been working with the parishes behind the scenes.

The council said by building homes on such a large scale rather than ad hoc, proper planning could go into infrastructure.

The Local Plan will go out to consultation in September/October and again a final consultation on the final Local Plan next September before submission to the Planning Inspectorate in December 2020. It will be examined formally in the spring or summer of 2021.

By Mary Harris

Source: Kent Live

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Fife’s Housing Investment Plan on target to build 3,500 new houses by 2022

Fife Council has approved an investment plan which aims to deliver 3,500 new homes by 2022. Fife Housing Partnership’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for 2019-2022 was recently approved by the council’s Community and Housing Services Committee.

It focuses on the delivery of social housing by Fife Council and the Fife Housing Association Alliance over the next four years.

The strong partnership approach between Fife Council and the Fife Housing Association Alliance, enables partners to plan future funding to make best use of resources.

Cllr Judy Hamilton, convener of the community & housing services committee, said: “We remain absolutely committed to meeting the housing needs of people of Fife. There is no doubt in my mind that good quality, warm and safe housing is a determinant of health and well-being. It is the bedrock of strong communities.

“The Strategic Housing Investment Plan outlines a mix of potential development projects, providing Fife with a realistic and practical plan to deliver the vital homes that the people of Fife need. Fife Council and the Fife Housing Association Alliance have an ambitious programme to build 3,500 new affordable homes across the Kingdom by 2022 through Fife’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan.”

Source: Scottish Construction Now