Since 2016, communities within East Ayrshire have been transformed thanks to significant investment in new affordable homes and an extensive programme that has improved our existing housing stock.
This multimillion pound investment has seen 477 new or reconfigured Council homes being completed, including the new development at Fraser Walk, New Farm Loch, Kilmarnock, which was handed over in November; an assisted living development at Andrew Nisbet Place in Hurlford and award winning developments in Dalrymple, Hurlford, Patna, Stewarton and Kilmarnock.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council said: “We talk about millions of pounds of investment and new homes that have been designed to support the needs of our communities, what that means is lives and communities have been changed for the better. Until this year, I have visited all of our new build developments to speak to tenants about their new homes and the changes they have seen to their lives. These conversations confirm that we are doing the right thing and that homes aren’t just somewhere that you put your belongings, they are the heart of the family and having the right accommodation to meet the needs of our tenants, and their children, can be life changing.”
The Strategic Housing Investment Plan 2021-26 (SHIP), which was approved at the meeting of East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 25 November, includes investment of £154m, with projects that could deliver up to 1229 affordable homes for the Council and Registered Social Landlord partners in communities throughout East Ayrshire.
Working with the Council’s strategic partners, CCG (Scotland) Ltd, the new build affordable housing programme will help to increase the supply of specialist housing to meet particular needs. As part of the SHIP, the Housing team is working closely with colleagues from the Health and Social Care Partnership to ensure that specialist assisted living facilities, meet the current and future needs of our residents.
The Housing Service is also working closely with CCG and colleagues from Housing Asset Services on an exciting new project that will help tackle sustainability, climate change and fuel poverty reduction targets. The team hopes to develop and pilot a net zero housing model.
In addition to building new homes, the Housing Investment Programme (HIP) has seen in the region of £75m invested in our housing stock over the past five years. This means that over 4000 homes have been installed with new energy efficient heating systems; over 2100 homes have received new kitchens, bathrooms and electrical upgrades and over 3200 homes have benefitted from new external render, insulation and external envelope enhancements, work that has transformed communities across East Ayrshire.
Over the next five years, a further £81m will be invested in our existing homes and improved energy efficiency will be a key focus for the Housing Asset Services team. Over 2500 homes will be included in the next phase of the external envelope enhancement programme with a whole house approach being taken to improvements. In addition to this extensive improvement programme, 2600 homes will receive new kitchens, bathrooms and electrical upgrades and 4000 homes will benefit from new energy efficient heating systems.
The Housing Asset Services team has also successfully achieved Scottish Housing Quality Standard for all properties, where it was practically possible to achieve the standard and will continue to ensure that homes are maintained to a high standard and achieve appropriate standards of energy efficiency to help tackle fuel poverty.
The Council’s Housing plans realise our vision, that – “Everyone in East Ayrshire can afford access to a quality home that meets their needs and aspirations, and is located within a safe and attractive neighbourhood in which they are proud to live.”
Councillor Elena Whitham, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “The Housing Asset Management Framework will ensure that the housing stock being retained is performing well and meets the needs and aspirations of the people we serve. We have interrogated our housing stock and can show robust statistics and information that helps to shape discussions with our communities on how we plan to tackle void housing. This information also helps to identify housing needs.
“It is essential that we have the right housing stock in the right communities and that our resources are carefully targeted. The East Ayrshire Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) ensures that new affordable homes are built in suitable locations and that our developments contain homes that suit varying needs. Everything we do is carried out in consultation with the East Ayrshire Federation of Tenants and Residents and our local communities. We are focused on future proofing our communities, not just our buildings, and to working in partnership with local people to ensure that their voices are not only heard but are at the centre of every conversation.”