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Councillors announce £53.9million investment in Renfrewshire housing

Residents are set to reap the benefits of a £53.9million housing investment in Renfrewshire across the next three years, as councillors revealed their budget plans today.

New build homes, regeneration and maintenance of existing council homes will form the key focus of Renfrewshire’s Housing Capital Investment Plan 2018/19 to 2020/21.

The significant outlay will see £15.44m in 2018/19, £18.75m in 2019/20 and £19.716m in 2020/21 invested in a range of programmes to improve the level of housing in Renfrewshire and advance the council’s commitment to provide 1000 new, affordable homes by 2021.

Planned investment programmes include improvements to the external fabric of council houses, roof renewals, upgraded kitchens and bathrooms, improved electrical wiring and heating systems, and improvements to multi storey flats and sheltered housing.

The Plan also includes provision for new build investment in affordable social housing in Renfrewshire at sites in Dargavel Village and Johnstone Castle, as well as new build homes on sites including Ferguslie, Foxbar, Gallowhill, Millarston and a further site at Dargavel Village.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We are committed to providing high-quality, affordable homes that will encourage people to come and live and work in Renfrewshire.

“This significant investment will ensure we can provide our communities with homes that are the right type, the right size and in the right place to meet their needs and improve their quality of life.

“We are on track to achieve our aim of providing 1000 new, affordable homes by 2021 and this, coupled with the improvements made to existing stock, will ensure a positive future for Renfrewshire and its residents.”

It was also announced that rent will be increased by 1%, significantly below the current rate of inflation, after consultation with more than 600 council tenants saw 99% indicate any increase should be kept as low as possible.

48% of respondents felt that rents should increase slightly below the rate of inflation, with 45% indicating it should rise in line and 6% feeling the rise should be slightly above.

Tenants also advised that their three most important issues are affordability, improvement to existing stock and building new council houses, and this small increase will ensure these needs continue to be met under increasing cost pressures

Councillor McGurk added: “We recognise the pressure on many households and its important we continue to maintain affordability for our tenants while also covering the rising costs related to maintaining our council housing stock. This below inflation increase will contribute towards our maintenance programme for existing housing.

“We’re committed to mitigating the impact of the slower than expected pace of UK welfare reform changes and as such have incorporated a transitional premium cap of £1.50 per week for any rent which has to be increased to ensure the change is manageable for our tenants.

“Having listened to our residents, we have aligned our priorities for the next three years accordingly to ensure we are meeting their needs and we will work hard to provide high-quality housing for those who wish to rent or buy a home in Renfrewshire.”