CLACKS COUNCIL has announced that more than £18 million will be invested in the housing sector over the next financial year.

Councillors agreed upon the housing capital programme during the council meeting last Thursday.

The budget set will have a key role in meeting the council’s transformation programme, Be the Future, aimed at tackling poverty and inequality.

During the meeting, it was heard that significant work is ongoing to review the council’s HRA business plan, which underpins the financial management of the housing service.

The last review was undertaken in 2017/18, which did not yet take into account the impact of Brexit and the pandemic.

Consultants were engaged to review the affordability and sustainability of the capital plan. The consultations showed clear support for the 6.7 per cent increase in rent, which was also approved by the council on Thursday.

Councillor Jane McTaggart, spokesperson for housing and property, said: “It is important that the council takes action to ensure that we are able to provide good quality houses for our tenants, playing a key role in helping our communities to thrive and overcome some of the challenges they are facing.

“The increase in rent levels over the past six years is below the rate of inflation and council rents continue to be below the level of private rents.

“The council continues to face challenges in dealing with increased costs caused by national and international events, and must ensure that we have budget sustainability to meet our responsibilities.

“Our capital spending plans mean that we will continue to invest for our tenants throughout Clackmannanshire in further improvements to our existing housing and the development of new build and off the shelf purchases.”

The council is also currently undergoing a new build development in Clackmannan, which will see eight new bungalows on the site of the former Lochies Garage.

Surveys are taking place in properties currently ‘off grid’ to develop plans for the installation of air source heat pumps.

Work is also underway to completely redevelop the council’s accommodation for the Gypsy/Traveller community at Westhaugh.

The redevelopment will ensure that the site is suitable, meeting modern standards and the aspirations of the community.

Clacks Council also has plans to invest in the acquisition of 40 off the shelf properties purchased from the open market in the year ahead.

Investment will also be made in existing tenants’ homes, with roof replacements, window replacements, new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems all planned.