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Council to discuss major affordable housing development proposal

Council to discuss major affordable housing development proposal

A potential major affordable housing boost for the Borders will be discussed by Councillors next week.

A report to Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) Executive Committee recommends the disposal of the former Earlston High School to allow Eildon Housing Association to re-develop the site. 

New homes and play park for Earlston

A feasibility study by Eildon has identified that the site has the capacity for up to 55 new homes, which could be completed in 2019/2020, while the development would also facilitate a new play-park at a nearby site. 

The former Earlston High School has been identified as a prioritised affordable housing site in the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2017-22, which was agreed by SBC in November 2016 and subsequently submitted to Scottish Government. It is estimated in the SHIP that £163m could be invested into affordable housing over five years, with SBC and partners delivering almost 1,200 homes in that time.

Councillors on the Executive Committee will discuss the report on Tuesday 7 March.

Scottish Borders Council

Councillor David Parker, SBC’s Leader, said: “The Council and partners have an ambitious target for affordable housing over the next five years and by working with Eildon Housing Association it is hoped the former Earlston High School site will make a significant contribution towards meeting this target.

“If this agreement is approved by the Executive Committee, this development would provide vital accommodation for local people and families, allowing them to live and work in their communities, while also providing a welcome boost to the local building industry.”

Councillor Frances Renton, SBC’s Executive Member for Social Work and Housing, added: “The SHIP is an ambitious plan which identifies how local housing needs and priorities will be addressed, including which housing projects are anticipated to be delivered over the five years to 2022.

“It is hoped that during the period of the new SHIP we will see more than double the number of houses delivered in the previous five years, with the re-development of Earlston High School being a major contribution towards achieving this.”

Eildon Housing Association

Nile Istephan, Chief Executive of Eildon Housing Association, added: “Delivering record numbers of high quality affordable homes across the Scottish Borders is a key aspect of Eildon’s strategy over the next five years. Addressing housing need across our communities, including high demand areas like Earlston, is a vital component in ensuring a thriving Scottish Borders. Eildon, working closely with SBC and other partners, is delighted to continue to play a central role in these efforts.”

The report also proposes that the Council uses funding available in its affordable housing investment budget to make up the difference between the market valuation sought by the Council and the affordable housing valuation determined by the District Valuer.

Further Information

Images are available at SBC’s Flickr page.

A section of the report presented to the Executive Committee will be discussed in private due to commercial sensitivities.

The report is available from SBC’s website.

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