Council buys 50 homes to tackle housing crisis
Up to 50 private homes will be bought by Clackmannanshire Council in a move to tackle the housing crisis in the county.
The decision was agreed despite concerns that the move could see dozens of one-bed properties snapped up for the homeless in town centre locations.
Labour councillors were worried that temporary homeless units in commercial areas would have a detrimental impact on businesses.
That fear was branded a "red herring" by Council Leader Gary Womersley who added that the strategy - costing £3.080 million over two years - would look at all sizes of property in all locations.
Councillors, bar the Labour group, backed the decision that will save the local authority cash on new-builds and Bed & Breakfast accommodation.
It followed the first meeting of the Housing, Health & Care Committee where the idea was originally mooted.
The report to that meeting revealed that around 66 per cent of the council's homeless demand is from single people, "which makes smaller properties the main focus of concern".
Labour took this to mean that council officers would only be concerned with one-bed properties - although the report added that further cash would be saved "if purchased units enable families to move out of B&B and overcrowded homes and...free up smaller homes for single persons".
At the recent full council meeting Labour councillor Janet Cadenhead lodged an amendment to delay the decision "to allow an investigation and business case into providing temporary homeless accommodation" like that of blocks in Backwood Court in Clackmannan and Lochbrae in Sauchie.
She said, "It is taking a step back and doing joined up thinking about these things and seeking the best way forward. We are not against off the shelf purchase. This is just a different model to look at."
The amendment was defeated by the SNP group, and the Independent and Conservative councillors.
Mr Womersley said, "This amendment is precluded on an argument that doesn't exist. The strategy will look at one, two, three and four bedroom houses. We are buying houses to improve our housing stock. Everything else is a red herring."
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