West Lothian Council will spend more than £40 million over the coming financial year improving existing council housing and increasing the number of available council properties.
The Housing Capital Investment Program (2022-23) was approved at a meeting of West Lothian Council this week alongside the approval of the Housing Revenue Account Budget for the same period.
The capital program will see nearly £25 million invested to increase the social housing supply.
West Lothian Council is one of Scotland’s leading builders of new council homes. With the council working in conjunction with Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s) and partners, more than 2,300 affordable homes have been delivered since the beginning of 2012.
By March next year, a further 180 new homes will be completed across a range of areas including 69 at West Calder, 42 homes at Livingston, and another 59 new homes to be built at Bathgate.
Money for the acquisition of former council houses, known as the buy-back scheme, will continue to be incorporated into the programme, as the council continues to look at expanding the housing supply working RSLs.
Other elements of the capital budget include: £16 million to improve and maintain existing housing, ensuring council homes continue to meet the Scottish Quality Housing Standard.
A total of £3.8 million will go to support a broad range of activities including decoration and internal upgrades, window and door refurbishments, painting and fencing programmes.
A total of £3.6 million will be invested in six individual major elemental upgrade projects consisting of long-term maintenance work, where structural elements such as roof and external walls are beyond economical repair by routine maintenance.
General environmental improvements and external upgrading will see a spend of £561,000. These will include tenant led street improvement projects. These small-scale projects will have a substantial impact on local amenities and the community.
The Council’s Community Choices, Participatory Budgeting exercise which will help local communities decide how this resource will be used.
A total of £7.3 million to be spent on external wall insulation upgrades, central heating upgrades and asbestos removal.
The introduction of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) regulations means that any house in Scotland under the management of social landlords require to meet a minimum energy rating. And homeowners will receive support through the Home Energy Efficiency Program Scotland (HEEPS).
A continuation of the rent increase of 3% per annum for council homes and garages has also been approved by West Lothian Council as part of its Housing Revenue Account Budget. This will help ensure continued investment in council housing infrastructure, improving existing homes and creating new affordable homes.
This decision followed consultation with the West Lothian Tenants Panel. The majority of responses supported a 3% rent increase per annum, which remains in line with the Scottish average.
Executive councilor for services for the community, George Paul, said: “West Lothian Council continues to invest in providing a high-quality social housing service for local people.”
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