A new housing plan for Govanhill that has earmarked £6.4m towards building 350 new homes in the area has been approved by the Glasgow City Council's Executive Committee.
The plan to build the 350 new homes is part of a wider strategy to improve housing conditions in Govanhill that aims to:
- introduce a widening of the Enhanced Enforcement Area so housing officers will have additional powers to tackle poor landlord practice across 18 Govanhill tenement blocks.
- extend the successful Acquisition and Repairs Programme to bring up to 350 additional homes into the ownership of Govanhill Housing Association.
- use compulsory purchase powers where ever necessary.
- create a new Social Lettings Agency to allow the local housing association to manage private-rented property in Govanhill.
- ensure factors are appointed for all properties in the extended 18 block area.
- continue to address poor maintenance of private property by using a range of enforcement tools.
- engage with residents to ensure the community is fully involved in developing plans for the area.
The £6.4m for 350 new build homes will be channeled through housing associations over the next four years with eight sites in the area already identified for development.
The homes will be available for social or mid-market rent and it's intended that all 350 homes would be complete and ready for tenants by the time the strategy concludes in 2020/21.
The strategy proposes that the council alone spends over £20m on existing housing in Govanhill, which includes £14m to support an extension of the successful Acquisition and Repairs Programme that has already seen Govanhill Housing Association take ownership of 124 flats in 'the four blocks' area.
This £14m would combine with Scottish Government funding to create a £34m financial package intended to purchase and repair a further 350 homes for Govanhill Housing Association, which looks take on the factoring of tenement closes where ever possible.
As part of the strategy, Govanhill Housing Association has also committed £3.7m to new housing and repairs for the duration of the four year period.
Overall this means there are plans to invest more than £44m in housing in Govanhill over the next four years.
Councillor George Redmond, the council's Executive Member for Jobs, Business and Investment, is backing the strategy as a bold statement of intent for Govanhill.
Councillor Redmond said: "This is an impressive document and points to the way ahead in Govanhill. Significant sums are being invested in Govanhill and it is great news that part of that money will go towards new housing.
"The council has been working exceptionally hard to turn things around in Govanhill and we are starting to see real progress being made. Building on the success of council-inspired initiatives such as the Acquisition Programme and Enhanced Enforcement Area is the right approach. Extending these programmes will ensure greatly improved property management practices across the wider Govanhill area.
"We are keen to work with all property owners in Govanhill so the area can fulfil its obvious potential. Where owners refuse to get on board with our plans, we will use our powers of compulsory purchase against them. No-one should be in any doubt about our long-term commitment to Govanhill."
The strategy also identifies that council services such as Education and Land and Environmental Services will spent £3.5m on Govanhill services over the course of the strategy.
The Vice Chairperson of Govanhill Housing Association, Annie Macfarlane, said: "Considerable progress has been made taking properties into the social rented sector and improving living conditions in the area, for instance, through the South-West Govanhill Property and Acquisition and Repair Programme.
"Of course, our work in Govanhill extends well beyond that programme. We continue to invest in carrying out major repairs to our tenants' homes, building new and much-needed affordable housing - such as the development currently under way at the corner of Victoria Road and Butterbiggins Road - and regeneration of the wider community.
"As a community controlled and owned association, we will continue to work with local people to help improve the area, reduce overcrowding and promote more effective property management and maintenance. The long-term approach needed in Govanhill requires continued support from the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council."
The Acquisition and Repairs Programme has been piloted over the past two years in a four block area of south-west Govanhill. Backed by a total of £14.9m funding from Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government, the scheme's ultimate aim has been for Govanhill Housing Association take on the factoring of as many tenement closes as possible in an effort to improve property management in the area.
The Enhanced Enforcement Area focuses on the same four blocks of south-west Govanhill and is a unique arrangement in Scotland. It provides Glasgow City Council Housing Services staff with additional powers to tackle non-compliance under the landlord registration scheme.
Further details from the strategy can be found in the committee paper approved today.