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1,000 new affordable houses to be built in Aberdeen

22/03/16

An additional 1,000 new affordable houses are to be built in Aberdeen following a landmark deal signed today (Tues 22 March) by Aberdeen City Council and housing developer Places for People.

The 300million partnership deal will see the formation of a limited liability company which is a Scottish first, and will help to deliver a "step change" in the supply of affordable housing in Aberdeen and address the shortage of housing in the city. The deal follows a commitment in the local authority's Strategic Infrastructure Plan (SIP) to build 2,030 homes by 2017.

The partnership company will build, own and manage housing for rent targeted at a range of needs, which include key workers on modest incomes.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: "This project will support and is additional to ACC's own building programme in support of Registered Social Landlords and low cost home ownership which has already delivered 1,081 affordable properties in the last four years.

"These new homes will help to address a shortage of housing in Aberdeen, which has become a barrier to the continued economic growth of the region.

"We look forward to the sites being developed and so we can welcome residents into their new affordable homes."

The objective of the deal is to develop an initial 1,000 affordable homes and 1,000 private development homes, with the potential for a further 1,000 properties.

David Cowans, Group Chief Executive at Places for People, said: "Creating 1,000 new affordable homes for rent will help to transform Aberdeen and the lives of key workers such as nurses and teachers.

"This deal is also transformational for how new homes are delivered in Scotland and provides a blueprint to show that new housing can be built without any Government subsidy or cost to the taxpayer.

"In order to tackle the housing shortage in Scotland and the rest of the UK, public and private sector organisations need to explore new models and new ways of working together.

"The fact Places for People has been chosen for this pioneering partnership is a testament to our track record of delivering attractive, aspirational and sustainable new neighbourhoods."

The Partnership Company will purchase council-owned sites and develop these for both affordable housing and private development for sale. ACC will receive a land value for each site, and in addition, through its 50% ownership of the partnership company receive a 50% share of the development profits.

Places for People will provide development and housing management experience to minimise costs and increase the speed of build.

Places for People Group Limited has assets in excess of 3.3billion and is one of the largest property, leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK. It owns or manages more than 150,000 homes across all housing markets and tenures, of which 10,000 are in Scotland. Castle Rock Edinvar is part of the Places for People Group and is one of Scotland's largest social landlords with more than 7,600 properties across eight local authority areas.

Places for People takes a placemaking approach to its business, which means it considers the infrastructure and services, like shops, schools, leisure facilities, transport links and healthcare facilities, when designing developments. It works with local communities to plan and design mixed-tenure places, with energy efficient homes, a range of facilities and carefully designed public spaces.

In Aberdeen, eight sites are initially committed for the project, including at Summerhill, three at Tillydrone, Craighill, East Woodcroft, Kincorth and Bucksburn Farm (Greenferns).

The partnership will help ACC deliver the short, medium and long-term housing objectives contained within the Strategic Infrastructure Plan (SIP), which focusses on delivering the infrastructure needed to support the positive economy of the city.

A key goal of the SIP was to create a step change in the supply of housing as a priority and in particular increase the supply of affordable housing to meet the city's housing needs.

The SIP committed to procure a suitable delivery partnership to help meet the short and medium term affordable housing commitments of 2,030 by May 2017. It includes a need for and the opportunity to increase the range, type and tenure of houses across the city.

The developments will consist of a housing mix of social rent, mid-market rent, shared equity/low cost home ownership and private sale depending on site location and regeneration objectives.