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Aberdeen on track to beat 2,000 council house building target by 2022, resources chief claims

Council co-leaders Douglas Lumsden and Jenny Laing at the former Summerhill Academy site last August, as work started on 369 council houses.
Council co-leaders Douglas Lumsden and Jenny Laing at the former Summerhill Academy site last August, as work started on 369 council houses.

Aberdeen Council’s resources director Steve Whyte has revealed the pandemic has left the local authority’s housebuilding in good stead – and an expectation of delivering even more than the 2,000 homes promised by 2022.

The Conservative, Labour and independent administration pledged to have thousands more council houses within five years of their 2017 election.

More than three years into their term, less than 300 homes have completed while another 90 have been bought back from owners.

But Mr Whyte told a meeting of the capital programme committee this week lockdown prompted a change in workflow, meaning deals had been struck and preparations started that otherwise might not have been.

He said: “We intend to come to the city growth and resources committee in October with a report because if we start adding up all the numbers we anticipate we will be under contract for, it’s likely we will in a position where we are exceeding the 2,000 that has been requested.

“Work has been progressing in a different way, so we have accelerated workstreams we would not have been doing if not for lockdown, which gave us a bit more capacity to do that.”

Contractors are working on another 662 homes at Summerhill and Wellheads Road in Dyce, though teams on both projects were forced to down tools for 12 weeks in lockdown.

It is hoped at least another 150 homes – predominantly in the city’s multi-storeys and tenements – could be purchased through the buy-back scheme, as staff work through a backlog of properties.

There are plans for further construction in Tillydrone, Kincorth, Craighill and Greenferns.

Mr Whyte added: “Part of the process is to look at the programme for delivery because we don’t want to get handed 2,000 sets of keys on May 1, 2022.

“We need to make sure completion is staggered.”

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