Edinburgh Council seems determined not to hit its own targets for affordable housing – John McLellan

At long last, Edinburgh’s SNP-Labour administration has conceded that it has fallen well short of its target to build – not just produce a plan ─ 10,000 affordable homes in five years. Nearly 50 per cent short, in fact.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Edinburgh Council wants to see thousands more affordable homes in the city (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Edinburgh Council wants to see thousands more affordable homes in the city (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

So far they are sticking to the belief they can hit 20,000 in ten years, but at the current rate of completion there is more chance of Hearts and Hibs contesting the Champions League final.

At least the new City Plan now out for consultation concedes the blueprint for future development doesn’t come close to meeting the estimated demand for all types of housing, which means only one thing, that despite the administration’s rhetoric, homes are going to become less affordable, not more.

So it is therefore confusing that a new scheme which would allow privately developed affordable homes to become council run through a leasing deal has effectively been killed off by a new policy which forces the developer to cap rents at 80 per cent of the council’s own rates.

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Why an innovative plan which would eventually deliver more homes controlled by the council but at no cost has been strangled at birth has not been properly explained, but it looks ideological rather than practical.

Similarly, a plan to build 285 flats, a quarter affordable, in the heart of Leith is apparently running into difficulties with planners and could be rejected.

It’s almost as if the authority is doing everything it can not to hit its own targets. So much for “joined-up thinking”.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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