We held a very well-attended Meet and Greet session at the Reid Hall in Forfar this week for the new tenants at Academy Court (the former Chapelpark school). The properties won’t be ready for a few months, but this was an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other a bit better, and to get some important information from the various services who took stalls at the event.
Here are some more photos from the event:
Busy Technical table!
Bust of Peter Reid
District heating by Switch 2
Tenant Participation at the Communities table
Recycling with Waste Management
Kitchens and bathrooms
Technical table – kitchens and bathrooms
Occupational Therapy table
A view from the flythrough
Emergency Services and Housing Management
Having fun at the Communities table
We thank all the tenants and elected members who gave up their time to come along, and staff from all the services who were represented:
- Housing Management
- Waste Management
- Occupational Therapy
- Tayside Contracts
- Police Scotland
- Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
- Switch 2 District Heating
We are giving more choice to people looking for social housing.
On 26 September, Communities committee agreed to move from a housing register based on a traditional points-based allocation system, which matches people to available properties, to a system of Choice Based Lettings that empowers would-be tenants to make their own informed choices.
The common housing register’s points-based system has proved complicated and time-consuming. More than 40% of housing offers made to applicants were refused between April 2016 and the end of March this year, where, in many instances, the location and type of property was felt to be unsuitable or unacceptable by people seeking a tenancy. These refusals left properties unoccupied for longer periods than is ideal.
Our housing team has piloted a successful choice based lettings approach for a selection of immediately available to let properties. This has proved successful and a move to roll-out this more customer-led approach is supported by our housing association partners.
This process sees landlords advertise their vacancies, allowing people who are interested to bid on the property they feel suits them best. The needs of those who apply are broadly prioritised and, where there is more than one bid, the applicant with the highest priority is offered the property.
In a more consumer-led society, we anticipate that choice based lettings will encourage a wider range of people to access social housing and will give them more choice over their housing. We hope that this, in turn, will improve demand for housing stock, reduce refusal rates and improve the process and overall satisfaction.
By doing so, the choice based lettings system can contribute to better, more sustainable communities, where people are more committed to the areas where they live.
We will now finalise details of the new approach and a will fully implement the move to choice based lettings system in 2018.
More than 600 new homes will be built by Angus Council and local housing associations in the county over the next five years, with the support of a £25 million Scottish Government funding package.
This significant and ambitious investment in bricks and mortar will see the creation of modern, affordable and sustainable accommodation that people can be proud to call home.
Our communities committee approved the Local Housing Strategy and Strategic Housing Investment Plan on 26 September. Both of these will help to drive the delivery of these new homes for people in Angus.
Communities convener, councillor Craig Fotheringham, said, “We will improve the provision of affordable housing across Angus by building houses of the highest quality in the places where people need them most. Doing so will further enhance Angus’ ever-growing reputation as a great place to live, work and visit. Accessibility and energy efficiency will be the cornerstones of our housing design, so that we deliver homes that will stand the test of time for the benefit of people now and in future generations.”
Our Local Housing Strategy sets out how we will improve housing in Angus – creating homes of which people can be proud – and how the supply of affordable homes will be increased to help match demand and people’s needs, as well as enabling them to live independent lives. It states how the council will improve the quality and energy efficiency of all its housing to help tackle fuel poverty and reduce domestic emissions. Supporting the ambition of the strategy, our Strategic Housing Investment Plan will drive the delivery of the strategic objectives.
Objectives include the delivery of 124 affordable homes each year over the next five years (by Angus Council and Housing Associations), including more than 30 homes each year for people who need adapted or specialised housing. The investment plan shows how those targets, which represent a doubling of new build rates, will be delivered and so contribute to the 50,000 national target of new affordable homes. We are committed to delivering 350 affordable homes over the next five years, including units at Viewmount and Chapelpark in Forfar that are set for completion later this year. Work begins onsite at Abbey Quarter in Arbroath shortly.
Both the strategy and the report have good foundations on which to build. Members of the communities committee heard that 87% of Angus Council Housing tenants are satisfied with the quality of their home with 80% considering that they get good value for money for the rent they pay.
Our communities vice-convener, councillor Lois Speed, said, “We are very pleased that 83% of our tenants are satisfied with the service they receive, but we are determined to ensure that we keep improving.”
The next step forward in the transformation of the Abbey quarter of Arbroath has been achieved, with confirmation that Planning Permission for 40 new Council houses and flats has been granted.
The Abbey Quarter’s importance for Arbroath cannot be over-emphasised, both as a central residential and retail area, but also as a major visitor destination due to the presence of the historic Abbey.
Arbroath Abbey has played a crucial role in Scotland’s history, including the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. It is the 700th anniversary of that event in 2020, so Angus Council’s regeneration project is scheduled to complete in time for that important milestone.
Our Convenor of Communities, Councillor Craig Fotheringham, said: “The blocks of flats which were previously on the site were unpopular, difficult to let, and had very poor appearance, which had a negative impact on business, retail and tourism. So I warmly welcome the news that this project can go ahead, as it will make a huge contribution to regenerating the area and delivering high quality affordable housing sympathetic to its surroundings. Our Housing vision is to create places that people are proud to call home. That’s why we build high quality energy efficient low rise housing that is second to none.”
The Abbey Quarter site
Our Vice Convenor, Councillor Lois Speed, added: “If we are to ensure that Arbroath is a great place to live, work and visit, it’s right that we should do our best to enhance the town with good urban design and architecture so that we can create an experience for residents and visitors that we can be proud of.”
Work will begin on the 40 new Council homes for social rent later this year. See more details at our Housing Developments site.
There are lots of ways for Council tenants to get involved in Tenant Participation and one size doesn’t fit all, so here’s what’s available.
If you want to discuss the best way for you to be involved, please email email@example.com or call ACCESSLine – 03452 777 778
We are asking residents in the Timmergreens area of Arbroath to help us deliver a £26 million housing regeneration project.
Recent consultation with Timmergreens tenants highlighted overwhelming support for large scale regeneration proposals which will see the demolition of 140 flats and the creation of better quality, affordable homes.
The plan, approved by our Communities Committee in August, will deliver more modern properties, improving the environment and enhancing people’s quality of life. It will make the area a better place to live for Angus residents.
Some of the blocks in Timmergreens as they look today
The Timmergreens area was chosen for regeneration due to its higher than average numbers of low demand properties (which is characterised by a small waiting list, high numbers of empty houses, high refusal rate and low level of tenancy sustainment).
Communities convener Craig Fotheringham said: “We want to replace the existing properties with new houses that people are proud to call home. As well as building new homes, the project will see great improvements to the areas open spaces, with walking and cycling routes and a better environment for all. We believe this programme will bring long-term benefits to the community. By offering a range of modern, high-quality and energy efficient accommodation, we can create a sustainable environment, satisfying changing needs within Arbroath for years to come.”
We want to deliver this project while working hand-in-hand with local residents.
Recent consultation work showed local support for the draft plans which are shown in this 3D flythrough. These plans will now be finalised and will reflect local demand. The plans are also available to view by contacting the Arbroath Community Housing Team on 01241 435263.
Some residents in Timmergreens have already been rehoused and we would urge others in the area to complete housing applications and to contact the Community Housing Team to discuss their housing options. We want to work with local residents. If you live in the area and want to be involved in the regeneration of Timmergreens, please contact Debbie Gowans on 01307 474769.
From Friday, 22 Sep 2017, 5pm to Saturday, 23 Sep 2017, 6pm
All welcome! One of the aims of the event is to bring members of the public, architects, students, designers, planners, policy makers and anthropologists together.
For more information and to book a place see the Homes to Last event website.
The new tenancy regime for private landlords and the roll out of Universal Credit in Angus are important changes for private landlords, so we’ve included both in a update here.
Firstly, the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, which is expected to take effect from December 2017, will introduce a new type of tenancy. This will be known as a “private residential tenancy”. It is important that tenants and landlords are aware about changes to rights and responsibilities that will be introduced at the end of this year. The main purpose of the changes is to improve security for tenants and provide better protection for landlords.
You can find more about what the introduction of the new form of tenancy might mean for you in the Scottish Government’s guide for tenants and guide for landlords
Secondly, the full rollout of Universal Credit will change the way benefit claimants claim and receive their income, and pay their housing costs.
The guidance gives details about the changes for both private and social sector landlords.