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Aberdeen City Council approves £40million council house programme

Co-leaders Jenny Laing and Douglas Lumsden at the Smithfield site
Co-leaders Jenny Laing and Douglas Lumsden at the Smithfield site

Aberdeen City Council chiefs will invest more than £40million into building new council housing in the coming year- and buying back former local authority properties.

The Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and independent alliance plans to construct 2,000 homes over its five-year term.

A total of 368 homes are planned for the former Summerhill Academy site on the Lang Stracht, while 284 more are proposed for a vacant piece of ground near the airport.

Some developments have already been completed, including a £13million scheme in Smithfield, which comprises 42 three and four-bedroom semi-detached properties and also 57 one and two-bedroom flats

And last month, a new council housing development of nearly 300 homes in Dyce was approved by councillors, despite hundreds of letters of objection.

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In addition to building a significant number of new homes, the authority has also unveiled a new “buy back” policy of former council houses that meet certain criteria to add to the current stock of more than 22,000.

Temporary housing, such as hotels and bed and breakfasts, come at a high financial cost to the local authority and it is regarded as a priority to tackle waiting lists.

Following approval at this week’s budget meeting, there will also be an increase of 4.3% in rent payments for tenants.

Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “Housing, both in terms of quality and quantity, is fundamental to our vision for Aberdeen and a place where everyone can prosper.

“These are all bold, exciting and important positive steps in our drive to increase social housing supply and demonstrates our commitment to delivering the target of 2,000 new council houses – the most radical and comprehensive programme of its type in a generation.”

Opposition Liberal Democrat infrastructure spokesman Steve Delaney warned that existing council homes must also be maintained to a high standard.

He said: “Certainly, it used to be the case that all parties worked together for the benefit of the tenants and I am glad that it again seems to be the case.

“Unfortunately, the existing homes have been run down over decades and it is only recently that they are being brought up to a good standard.

“I would not want a situation where people are moving into new builds and rejecting our existing stock of homes.”

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