The Council views the delivery of new affordable housing as a key priority and this is reflected in our Corporate Plan and Single Outcome Agreement with the Scottish Government.
The Local Housing Strategy 2004-09 identified low demand for social rented housing in South Central Stranraer and North West Dumfries, which was in marked contrast to the much higher demand in other parts of the two towns.
The Council, with Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) and the Scottish Government, identified the need for a regeneration strategy for the two areas to address the underlying issues of low social housing demand, stigma and a low quality living environment.
The development and agreement of the Neighbourhood Renewal Masterplan, in May 2006, was a complex task involving many partners.
As a result of the Masterplan a £77 million investment package has been secured through the use of Council funding, the Scottish Government's Affordable Housing Investment Programme, private finance raised by DGHP and other external funds. This has resulted in one of the largest housing regeneration programmes in Scotland and growing national recognition for what is being achieved.
Key to the delivery of these multi - million pound projects has been effective partnership working between the Council, Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership and the Scottish Government.
In South Central Stranraer the housing regeneration programme includes building 333 new homes, for rent and for sale, and demolishing 200 'low demand' dwellings mainly flats in Dicks Hill.
As an 'early action' 69 houses were built for rent at Ailsa Gait Stranraer to accommodate the families from the first phase at Dicks Hill. A further 16 'home stake' properties were built at Ailsa Gait, these houses have proved to be very popular.
Demolitions started on the Dicks Hill site in May 2009, with the completion of approximately 250 new homes expected late 2012.
In North West Dumfries the housing regeneration programme includes building 310 new homes, most for rent, some for sale, and the demolition of 189 'low demand' dwellings mainly flats in Lochside and Summerville. Over £25 million is being invested in four housing development sites.
As an 'early action' a block of 18 flats at Oliphant Court in Lochside was demolished in July 2007, and by February 2009 ten families had moved into the courtyard scheme of 10 new semi-detached houses and bungalows built on the site. This part of the Masterplan was nominated in the Best New Development category at the 2009 Scottish Housing Awards.
In spring 2009 demolition of 61 flats and houses at the Summerville Crescent site made way for the construction of 38 new homes in time for Christmas 2010. Major earthworks were required at a Greenfield site in north Lochside (opposite Maxwellton High School) in preparation for the construction of 178 new homes, the first phase of which were occupied in early 2011.
The final phase in Dumfries started with the demolition of 113 flats in central Lochside which are being replaced with 78 houses, 43 for rent and 35 for sale.
In both Stranraer and Dumfries the 'wider' regeneration programmes address key issues aiming for neighbourhoods that are economically prosperous, socially inclusive and environmentally vibrant places to live, learn and do business.
One of the key reasons for choosing the winning architect's Vision for Neighbourhood Renewal in Dumfries was its emphasis on making the most of the green spaces and the suggestion for "green routes" to improve connections within the area and to the town centre. Wider regeneration therefore includes the "Community Action – improving green spaces" project which aims to enhance neighbourhood image and increase the benefits gained from the green network, including delivery of two of the commissions proposed in the " North West Dumfries Public Art Commission Plan 2009 [1Mb]".