NEW HOUSES WELCOMED
A housing development which will bring 31 new houses into the rented market has been hailed as ‘innovative’ and ‘much welcomed’ by Fife Council leader Alex Rowley and Cowdenbeath Area chair Willie Clarke.
Both councillors met with Kevin Sharp, director of Sharp Homes, who, in partnership with Ore Valley Housing Association, has developed the new housing project at Rosewell Drive in Lochore. The 31 new homes consist of 12 three bedroom flats, 16 two bedroom flats and 3 four bedroom terraced houses.
Cllr Clarke said: “There are over 14,000 applicants on the housing waiting lists in Fife and that is why the new administration in Fife has rightly made new houses for rent a top priority. It is heart-breaking to meet people week-in and week-out who are unable to get a house when you know that the real problem is there is just not enough houses to go round. I am of the view that being able to have a roof over your head is a basic right and I congratulate Kevin Sharp and Ore Valley for this innovative project that will bring much needed houses to the local area.”
Mr Sharp explained that the project was being funded through private finance with an agreement with the housing association to rent the properties.
He said: “We know there is not enough public finance available to build the houses needed for rent, so we have worked up a financial model that will see more houses for rent being built.”
Mr Sharp also stressed that local people were getting work being employed direct through his company and through sub-contracting. He said: “It seems to me to be mad that we have builders out of work while at the same time people are not able to get houses.”
He also confirmed that his company are taking on young people to be trained in the building trade.
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Last month Fife Council’s Executive Committee approved a paper setting out a target of 2,700 new homes for rent to be built in Fife over the next five years but came under criticism from some quarters for a lack of detail on how this was to be achieved.
Council leader Alex Rowley said: “We have a housing crisis in Fife with many young people and families just unable to afford to get on the housing ladder, we also have older people with specific housing needs and we just don’t have enough houses available for rent. The total budget coming from the Scottish government for housing over the next three years has been cut by more than 60% and that is why we want to develop new approaches to the rented sector. We are actively examining other ways of raising more capital to invest in housing but if we are to meet the ambitious target we have set then we will need new partnerships between house builders, the council and housing association. This new approach by Sharp Homes and Ore Valley is therefore very welcome and will be examined closely as we seek new ways of making our money go further and build more homes. The employment and training that stems from it is also a good thing and we need to see more of this in this very difficult
Photo shows Alex Rowley, Kevin Sharp, Willie Clarke