As many as 20,000 affordable homes could be delivered in Edinburgh by 2027, as a new report revealed the local authorities remain on track with their ambitions despite the impacts of the pandemic.
The City of Edinburgh council is expected to deliver its new Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2022-27 report to councillors on its housing, homelessness and fair work committee this week, on November 4, 2021.
Councillors will review and discuss approval of the plans, ahead of submission to the Scottish Government.
The new report highlights the progress already being made, which includes the project of 7,5000 new affordable homes to be approved by March 31, 2022, and 5,790 completed.
There are currently over 2,100 homes under construction on 34 sites across the city.
By 2027, the report also identified a further pipeline of 11,118 affordable homes which could be approved for site start, and 10,124 potential completions by 2027.
The deliver of these projects – as well as an interim milestone across the wider Scottish housebuilding sector of 10,000 homes by mid-2023 – are anticipated to be delivered even despite 18 months of disruption for the sector.
There are 25 projects currently which have encountered a delay, equating to 1,456 approvals, primarily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 75% of these projects slipped into the subsequent year for a delivery date.
The continued delivery of affordable housing schemes, across Edinburgh and the wider Scottish sector, has involved close collaboration between local authorities, planning committees and the housebuilding industry.
Figures from the Scottish Government showed that in June 2021, affordable housing approvals were down 36% compared to the previous year.
Meanwhile, as construction projects restarted around the world post-pandemic, there has been a significant surge in demand for materials, accompanied by a rise in prices on key materials such as timber. This built on existing price increases as a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union and is expected to continue to rise in the immediacy.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) projects a rise of 7-8% in material prices, with the prices for certain materials such as timber to more than double over the course of the year.
Cllr Kate Campbell, Convener for the Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Committee at City of Edinburgh Council, said: “There are extreme pressures on housing in Edinburgh and a desperate need for more affordable homes. We’re doing all we can to drive forward our house building programme so that our residents can have permanent homes that are energy efficient, safe and affordable.
“There are constraints, from Brexit and Covid, which have had a severe impact on supply chains, material costs and the labour market, which are affecting housebuilding across the UK.
“That said, the good news is that this is the largest ever SHIP brought forward. It sets out a positive long-term picture and shows we are on track to deliver a programme for 20,000 affordable homes over ten years.
“We’ll continue to work hard with our housing association partners to build more homes for social rent. But we need to look at what more we can do.
“We were the first local authority to develop an Affordable Housing Policy through planning – where 25% of the land on any new development must be given for affordable housing. Now, through the City Plan, we’re proposing to increase the affordable allocation from 25% to 35%.
“We have a strong track record in delivering new social rented homes. This has resulted in an additional £36m of grant funding being given to Edinburgh over the last five years. We’ll work hard to make sure this continues, alongside making the case to the Scottish Government for increased investment in social housing in our city.”