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Proposals for hundreds of new homes agreed by Aberdeen city councillors

20/08/14

Plans to pave the way to build hundreds of new homes on eight sites across Aberdeen have been approved by city councillors.

The schemes for the sites are a key part of priorities laid down in the City Council's Strategic Infrastructure Plan (SIP), which commits to the delivery of 2,030 affordable homes in Aberdeen by May 2017 and 2,430 by 2019.

The new homes on the sites agreed today [Weds 20 August] will provide a broad housing mix, including social rent, mid-market rent, shared equity/low-cost home ownership, and private sale – and will make up part of the SIP total. The precise mix of house types and tenures, and the total number of homes per site, will be decided in due course.

Sites identified are – the former Bucksburn Farm; the former Craighill, Smithfield, Tillydrone and St Machar primary schools; East Woodcroft in Bridge of Don; and the land now occupied by Kincorth Academy and the former Aberdon care home in Tillydrone. Further sites may become available.

The City Council now plans to enter into a joint-venture development partnership to provide the homes as quickly as possible and has approved spending 3million to finance preparatory work on the sites to ensure they are ready to be developed once the partnership is in place. The investment will be recoverable at a later date as sites are developed by the joint venture development partnership.

City Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: "This decision shows a clear commitment by this Administration to deliver new housing for Aberdeen and to put the mechanisms in place to make sure we provide the homes, many of them affordable, as soon as possible.

"It is vitally important that we provide a broad range of tenures because this is all about providing homes to suit a wide range of people and circumstances.

"This will give local young people the opportunity to continue live, work and raise their families in this city. It also means we will be in a much better position to attract people to come and live in Aberdeen, especially the key workers who we really need but who might currently be deterred by the high cost of living and the shortage of affordable homes to buy or rent."

The SIP focuses on the infrastructure Aberdeen needs to underpin and build upon its vigorous economy, including enabling a step-change in the supply of new homes, including affordable housing. The current shortage is impacting upon house prices and rent levels, which is hampering home-moves within the city and making it difficult to attract new workers to the city and constraining the labour market.

A report to elected members today on the provision of the new homes on the agreed sites said: "Removing the barriers and delivering the infrastructure to enable the delivery of new housing developments is vital for the economic growth of the city and supporting the up-front costs is essential to this.

"We will also endeavour to increase opportunities for some of our existing residents by enhancing options for them through different house types and tenures as their aspirations and family circumstances change over the years.

"By doing this we will free up their existing properties for others, meet their own housing requirements and enable them to continue to live in the area, providing stability for the community as well as their families."

Procuring a delivery partner for new homes initiative will bring private sector experience and expertise to the programme, will lever in private financing to develop the City Council-owned sites, and will see both sides sharing in the development risk and profit.