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More homes needed ‘to avoid decade of undersupply’

Nicola Barclay HFS conf

Nicola Barclay: ‘need to nurture housebuilding’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Ministers will be urged to tackle a chronic housing shortage and continuing planning delays at an industry gathering in Edinburgh today.

Homes For Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay is expected to call on the government and industry to avoid a repeat of the decade since the recession which resulted in an undersupply of 80,000 homes.

For the first time since 2008, housing completions in Scotland have exceeded 20,000 a year.

“It has taken 10 years to reach this point but, in reality, we need at least 25,000 homes to be built in Scotland every year to address demand,” says Ms Barclay.

This would generate 38,000 jobs, £1 billion more in economic output and more than £50m in infrastructure enhancements.

“In the face of Brexit, a general election next month and lower economic growth than the rest of the UK, it is vital that we nurture Scotland’s home building industry to maintain an upwards trajectory.”

She says that despite attempts to speed up planning applications major applications are taking 32.5 weeks – more than twice the statutory 16-week timeframe – to secure consent.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and Housing Minister and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart are among those addressing the Homes for Scotland annual conference.

Bellway’s Scotland west division has announced plans to build close to 1,000 homes. The housebuilder is investing in eight sites creating 887 private homes and 66 affordable homes.

The landmark investment in 92 acres of land will see the company increase the number of live developments from nine to 16, subject to planning permission, over the next six months, with a target of 20 by the end of 2020.

The latest acquisitions come after a major restructuring of the Scottish operation, which saw a separate spin-out division being created in the east in August 2018.

Fraser Conn, regional director, Bellway Homes (Scotland West), said: “Despite the economic uncertainty in the UK at large, the fundamentals remain strong for the industry with a significant shortage of new build homes in Scotland, constant innovation in building techniques and a skilled workforce.”

He added that the company is on the acquisition trail and is in early discussions on further new sites, in addition to the eight already earmarked.

He said: “If successful this could lead to another 951 new homes being built on 87 acres of land.”

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