Affordable housing in Stirling
Steps to prevent 'serious shortages' of affordable housing in Stirling have been announced today by the Scottish Government.
Right to Buy has been temporarily suspended for some tenants across 35 letting areas, which have now been designated as 'pressured areas'. This will affect 39 per cent of the social housing stock.
This follows the decision to approve Stirling Council's pressured area application and will allow the local authority to retain homes for rent for people on low incomes in areas facing social housing pressures aggravated by Right to Buy.
Stirling is the twelve local authority to have successfully applied to use the pressured area mechanism.
Minister for Housing and Communities, Alex Neil, said:
"This Government will continue to do everything within the powers we possess to increase the supply of affordable housing across Scotland. That's why housing is a key theme of our Scottish Economic Recovery Plan.
"In our first year in office more social sector homes were started than at any time since the early 1990s. Meanwhile our invitation to apply for a share of 25 pounds million to reverse decades of decline in council house building has received an extremely positive response from local authorities.
"These steps, along with our plans to legislate to end the right to buy on all new build social housing, will help to safeguard investment in affordable homes and kick start a new generation of council house building.
"Accepting Stirling Council's request to suspend Right to Buy in some areas will ease the substantial pressures facing affordable housing in the area. I would ask other local authorities to consider whether this would be a suitable measure for them."
Councillor Alasdair MacPherson, Portfolio Holder for Housing Strategy at Stirling Council said:
"As part of the Pressured Area Status consultation, the majority of tenants agreed that the Council should apply to have the Right to Buy suspended and I agree with them that this is the right thing to do.
"Across these areas, since right to buy was introduced 4734 homes, or 63 per cent of the stock, has been lost and this is a contributing factor to the homelessness crisis that we currently face. It is essential that we protect this remaining social rented housing stock which is now in such short supply."
The Stirling areas that have been designated as 'pressured areas' are as follows:
- Rural areas to the west and north of the M9/A9 including Cambusbarron
- Dunblane, Bridge of Allan and Causewayhead/Logie
- Stirling Town, Riverside, Broombridge, Braehead and the Newhouse/lower St Ninians area
- Bannockburn, Whins and Hillpark/Firs
The suspension of Right to Buy only applies to tenancies which have commenced on or after September 30, 2002. Tenants in the Stirling areas affected will have the Right to Buy their council or housing association property suspended for five years. This will immediately affect 245 tenancies, and 1,349 tenancies over the next five years.
Pressured area designations have now been approved in the following local authority areas:
East Renfrewshire (Eastwood area) on October 7, 2005 2. Highland (all areas excluding Caithness, Sutherland and some estates in Inverness and Fort William) on November 15, 2005 3. South Ayrshire (29 letting areas comprising much of Prestwick and Ayr, and rural settlements) on February 10 2006 4. Moray (Elgin, Lossiemouth, Forres and Forres rural) on March 7, 2006 5. Fife (St Andrews and East Neuk) on 8 May 2006 6. Dumfries and Galloway (69 villages of population less than 400 across the local authority area) on June 5, 2006 7. Fife (13 west Fife villages) on January 15, 2007 8. Perth and Kinross (21 letting areas across Highland Perthshire and in the rural areas around Perth) on February 2, 2007 9. Aberdeen (35 letting areas across the city) on September 5, 2007 10. North Ayrshire (11 letting areas) on 14 May 2008 11. Aberdeenshire (88 letting areas) on 6 November 2008.
North Lanarkshire (Cumbernauld and Moodiesburn) on 2 February 2009.
Moray (Forres letting area) on 17 February 2009
Right to Buy changed significantly when the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 reduced and capped discount levels, extended the qualifying period to five years and introduced the pressured area mechanism.