Lothians get £100m boost for housing

FUNDING of more than £100 million will build hundreds of new affordable homes across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The Capital will receive £78.7m over the next three years to increase the supply of new housing, which the Scottish Government said would also create jobs and boost the local economy.

The cash is the city’s share of almost £582m in subsidy for all 32 councils across Scotland, allocated by the government from its Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP).

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The city council said the money would help fund 81 homes for social and mid-market rent already under construction in Kirkliston by Homes Scotland, together with three schemes due to start soon – 174 homes for social and mid-market rent at Quartermile for Hillcrest housing association; a similar 60-home scheme by the council in Greendykes; and 32 homes for social rent and shared ownership by Port of Leith Housing Association in Great Junction Street.

A council spokesman said: “This funding will help the council and its partners deliver much-needed affordable homes over the next three years. This will also generate investment and jobs in the city.”

The cash is also being used to encourage the building of greener homes by providing a larger subsidy for houses built to meet higher standards in areas such as energy efficiency.

East Lothian will receive £9.6m. The council said it was too early to know how or where the money would be spent. But a spokeswoman said: “This additional funding is most welcome as East Lothian’s demand for affordable housing currently outstrips the available supply.”

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West Lothian Council said its allocation of £9.1m would help towards a total of 545 new affordable council homes at eight sites at a cost of £45m.

A first phase, consisting of 255 homes has already been completed.

A council spokesman said: “Each house has been designed with energy conservation in mind. For example, recently completed properties in Blackburn were fitted with solar panels on their roofs, which will help residents to lower their energy costs and reduce their overall carbon footprint.”

Midlothian Council receives £6.8m. Kevin Anderson, head of housing and community safety, said the funding would be allocated in line with the local strategic housing programme, which will be agreed once the new council administration is in place.

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Housing Minister Keith Brown said: “Housing is and will remain a priority for this government and we will continue to invest in new affordable homes.

“We have listened to councils and housing associations in the area and put in place a system of funding for housing based on forward-planning instead of making councils and housing associations bid for funds. This will provide greater certainty and allow councils to make plans for the future.“