Falkirk Council pledges £316m investment in its housing stock
A massive investment in Falkirk’s housing stock has been agreed, which will mean improving thousands of council houses and building hundreds of new ones.
Falkirk Council will spend £316 million in total on housing over the next five years, which includes £186 million on housing improvement work; £130 million on building new homes; and £6 million buying back old council houses.
In 2020/21 alone, over £52 million will be spent on improvements to thousands of properties including £11.5 million on re-roofing and roughcasting to bring them into line with the standard required.
A further £11 million will be spent making houses more energy efficient and 1100 houses a year will get replacement heating systems, while the council is also running pilot schemes to see how effective solar panels would be.
Councillors heard at a full council meeting that this year, £12 million will be spent replacing doors and windows – something that will continue in years to come.
Tenant surveys have found most unhappiness is due to the poor condition of kitchens and bathrooms, so £3.9m will be spent on replacing them.
The council will also have to spend nearly £4m on health and safety work, such as installing smoke and heat detectors which are now required by law, as is the new cladding on Glenfuir Court which will cost £2.5m over two years.
There will also be just over £1m spent on improvements to lifts in the council’s high flats.
In total around 5300 homes will be upgraded.
A further £2m will be spent on energy efficiency works with around 1100 properties each year benefiting from new heating systems, as well as £4.5m heating upgrades to three high rise blocks.
Also included in the five-year plan will be investment that will bring 602 new homes for rent in Hallglen, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Bonnybridge, Torwood, Denny, Banknock, Polmont, Langlees, Stenhousemuir and Bainsford.
The local authority will continue its programme of ‘buy backs’ of former council homes, purchasing around 80 properties a year.
Councillor Gordon Hughes, spokesman for housing said: “This is a significant investment across our housing estate and will benefit many tenants across the area.
“We recognise the importance of investing in our housing stock and have been increasing our housing investment programme year on year.
“To put this in context, this investment programme is three times the level of ten years ago and is part of a long term programme to bring all of our properties up to the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and maintain these high quality standards in the future.
“We will continue with our new build programme which is delivering more high quality homes for tenants across many communities, with 602 new builds planned over the next five years.”
The investment programme is entirely separate from the council’s other budgets and revenue raised by housing rents and grants etc, can only be reinvested in housing programmes and no other aspect of Council services