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Mon March 18 2019

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Falkirk allocates £280m for housing projects

25 Jan Falkirk Council is to spend £280m over the next five years on new housing and improvements to existing homes.

In the 2019/20 financial year, almost £30m will be spent on improvements to about 4,700 properties including £8m on re-roofing and roughcasting and £3.5m on replacement kitchens and bathrooms.

A further £7.7m will be spent on energy-efficiency works with around 500 properties each year given new heating systems and heating upgrades planned for three high-rise blocks. Further work will also be done on extending combined heat and power systems to three additional high-rise blocks.

The council has allocated £3.5m for estate improvements such as fences, walls and paths. A total of £1.85m will be invested to take forward solar PV installation projects and £0.35m will be spent on improving high-rise lifts.

Also included in the five-year plan will be investment that will bring the Council’s new build programme to 1,000 new homes, with 617 new homes planned between 2019 and 2024. Locations include Hallglen, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Bonnybridge, Torwood, Denny, Banknock, Polmont and Bainsford.

Falkirk Council will continue its programme of ‘buy backs’ of former council homes by purchasing around 80 properties a year.

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Councillor Gordon Hughes, who is spokesperson for housing, said: “This is a substantial investment for thousands of tenants across many areas locally. The rent we collect and grants from various organisations allow us to keep our properties at a high standard as well as planning new homes and allowing us to buy back properties.”

He added: “We consulted widely on the levels we should set our rent at in order to allow us to help deliver these improvements and the majority felt that a rise of between 2.5% and 3.5% was appropriate.

“The investment is part of our long-terms programme to bring all our properties up to the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and ensure tenants get the most from their social housing.”

The investment programme is entirely separate from the Council’s other budgets. Revenue raised by sources such as rents and grants can only be reinvested in housing programmes and no other aspect of council services.

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