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HousingScot An independent publication from canongate.org


Capturing land value for public good


Delivering homes for generations

Pioneered in Scotland An innovative approach to supported living

Distributed with The Times Scotland 8 February 2018


It’s time to think about co-housing


Bridgewater is celebrating 21 years



Housing Scot

Offsite manufacturing is a ‘game changer’


Increasing delivery of quality affordable homes using modern techniques




It’s no secret that we face a shortfall in housing across Scotland, with rising demand for private, affordable, and social homes to be built more quickly. At the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, we want businesses to look to the future and do things better – and that includes tackling our housing shortage through modern, more efficient building techniques. A report on housebuilding by Lloyds Banking Group contained some encouraging figures; 82% of firms said they are more focused on innovation than before. Companies are investing an average of 24% of their turnover on new techniques, compared with 20% five years ago. They’re doing this to improve efficiency, build to a better standard, and many are finding that it also increases their profit margins. Since we launched CSIC in 2014, we have had a focus on offsite manufacturing; a game-changer when it comes to tackling the current housing shortage. Offsite can deliver a high quality, mass-customisable product that is technically advanced, offering social, environmental, and economic benefits. It’s quicker, safer, and can reduce costs. Similarly, design for manufacture

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8 February 2018

Urban Splash’s ‘House’ project in New Islington, Manchester and assembly (DfMA) allows homes to be constructed more quickly, cheaply and safely, without compromising on quality – this method was used to build the Glasgow 2014 Athletes’ Village. It could transform the way housing is delivered. Many people worry about what these new methods mean for housing design. I think concerns are largely unfounded. Look at Urban Splash’s ‘House’ project in New Islington, Manchester; modular homes - factory-

made and transported as a pre-assembled module to site - that have been designed by architects and are anything but bland. At CSIC, we offer advice and support to help companies find better and faster ways of delivering products and services, as well as training sessions and workshops. In the recently opened Innovation Factory, we have an amazing facility open to anyone who wants to prototype and develop new products, processes, systems, and solutions.

We are also offering support to companies who have ideas on how robotics might increase construction efficiencies, enhance the quality, or overcome industry challenges – such as how to build more homes, more quickly. So, if you have an idea, get in touch! Stephen Good, Chief Executive, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre www.cs-ic.org

Why we need a system that works for all Availability of land at existing use value could make a huge difference BY SALLY THOMAS In the 21st century, developers and landowners – rather than communities – continue to wholly benefit from the uplift in land values generated by development. Now, more than ever, we have the opportunity to tackle this. The planning system has used many ways of capturing land values since the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act, but has ended up with a system which, while yielding some significant benefits, lacks transparency and reinforces inequality. The achievement of the laudable Scottish Government ambitions to provide 50,000 affordable homes, tackle poverty, promote inclusive growth, and create a fairer country depends in no small part on the finances (money) and resources (land) to do so. We need a system that will allow distribution of revenues on the basis of need, rather than market circumstance, and one which reinforces the ambition for, and achievement of, socially inclusive place-making. Of the many factors that contribute to this,

land is one of the most critical. Land values are generated from societal demands for goods and services, which invariably depend on the development of land, from food production to housing. The regulation of land impacts on how land values are distributed by controlling the uses to which land can be developed. Giving consent and infrastructure investment by public bodies generates value. However, capturing this for the public good is anything but straightforward. Current systems of planning obligations yield benefits, but also drawbacks; procedural complexity, the patchy, and unequal spatial distribution of gains, inefficiency in meeting the costs of infrastructure and the public perception of lack of transparency and accountability. The Scottish Government has put substantial finance behind the country’s affordable housing programme, which saw a 28% increase in the Draft Budget to more than £756m for 2018/19. Initial analysis from the Scottish Housing Regulator shows that RSLs’ expenditure on development has risen by 24% to £807m. If this level of progress is to be sustained, and the rents charged truly affordable, then the price of land will become an increasing factor. The availability of

land at existing use value could make a huge difference to the achievement of the programme. There are currently two significant opportunities to address the issue of land cost and help increase the supply of new affordable homes. A new Planning Bill is about to make its passage through the Scottish Parliament. It provides an opportunity to address issues of land supply and cost. The bill makes provision for an infrastructure levy on developers, but the SFHA, and others, is calling for more radical and ambitious solutions. We would like to see land transferred at its existing use value, for example, agricultural, and for the uplift in value, gained through planning permission for housing, to be used, for example, to fund the infrastructure required to service the site. The second potential change would see land transferred at existing use value for affordable housing development. A housing association or council could then develop affordable homes at a lower cost to tenants as well as the public purse, and more land could be made available in order to increase supply. The Scottish Land Commission, set up last year, could also bring about change. The commission is reviewing the operation of the housing market

and has commissioned research into the potential of different land value capture models. It is also exploring the incidence of vacant and derelict land in Scotland. One possible solution to this blight could be to serve compulsory sales orders which would make the land available for housing development. This is not about punishing developers or distorting the market. Indeed, inflated land values disadvantage both the private and public sectors. Rather, it is about introducing fairness and equality to a system characterised by distortion and inequality. It is about rebalancing and redistributing for greater social good, which we will all benefit from. There is much greater public and political support now than there has ever been for substantial recoupment of development land gains. Even so, the task of producing an effective system can seem daunting. The prize is worth it, though, and SFHA will be working with our members and stakeholders to try and bring about the change that is so desperately needed. Sally Thomas is chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations. Scottish Land Commission, page 4.


8 February 2018

Delivering homes for generations Our real commitment to ensure shared ambitions BY KEVIN STEWART As a government, we have a clear and defining reason for making housing a priority – providing good quality, warm, and affordable homes is vital to create a fairer Scotland, secure economic growth, and support and create jobs. At the heart of that sits our commitment to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes over the course of this Parliament, with 35,000 of these for social rent. While that is ambitious, it is right that we challenge ourselves to deliver the number of affordable homes that communities across Scotland need – and we have shown before that we can deliver. Nearly 71,000 affordable homes have been delivered since 2007- with 48,813 for social rent, including 8,819 council homes, as well as 4,936 for affordable rent and

17,112 for affordable home ownership. To continue that progress requires investment – something we are delivering at record levels. As announced in our draft budget, more than £756m will be made available in 2018-19 through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme – a 28% increase. Our programme is expected to support between 12,000 and 14,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the construction and related sectors over the lifetime of this Parliament. Our target will not be met through one policy or programme – a range of measures are needed. We have ended right to buy and reintroduced council house building. We are providing relief for first-time buyers and investing in shared equity. And we have introduced innovations like our Rental Income Guarantee Scheme, which will boost the build-to-rent sector, along with funding to help bring thousands of empty homes into ownership. Our efforts are about more than simply delivering numbers. It is about


Hearing about work to tackle homelessness, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart at Streetwork Edinburgh

delivering the right homes, in the right places, which endure for generations. From my many visits developments across the country, it is clear what is being delivered isn’t just housing but opportunities for new communities, breathing new life into areas. Core to this is our close working relationship with the housing sector – particularly housing associations and local authorities – who I know will rise to the challenge and maximise this opportunity. Last year, we took steps to ensure details were confirmed of each local authority’s full funding allocation for affordable housing over the next three years – helping them and house-builders plan their investment and provide certainty on the amount of funding available. That means they can plan new affordable homes now - with the certainty that funding will increase

year-on-year. It demonstrates the key role they have to play and ensures we work closely together, in partnership, to deliver our ambitions. Equally, housing associations are an invaluable partner – not just in house building but also bringing a unique perspective, and offering direct service user experience. Their role isn’t just providing good quality housing and services for tenants, or building new energy efficient homes, it’s also about creating jobs, supporting vulnerable people, and acting as an anchor for some of the most deprived communities in Scotland. Around 160 housing associations are registered in Scotland – ranging from small community based organisations to very large group structures covering a wide geographic area. Regardless of differences, housing associations are

independent, non-profit distributing organisations with the overarching purpose of providing good quality housing for their tenants. I greatly value both that diversity, and the contribution to our communities and country they make. Our mission extends beyond helping those who are close to the housing ladder to get on it – we want to transform opportunities and outcomes for those who are furthest from it, experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping. We have set out actions to renew and redouble that work, including the creation of a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, backed by £50m to drive change. In doing so, we want to ensure that we extend the opportunity to increase and improve housing for all, starting with the most vulnerable people in our society. Taken together, it is clear to me that there is a breadth of experience, knowledge, and hard work going on across the sector – and a real commitment to ensure we meet out shared ambitions of a safe, warm, and high quality place to call home for everyone. With the hard work of all those involved, and the determination from across government and the housing sector to deliver, it is clear we have all the tools in place and I know we can do it. Kevin Stewart is the Scottish Government’s Minister for Housing.



8 February 2018

Collaboration is the key But it goes far beyond public and private sector relationships BY KAREN CAMPBELL With the number of new homes being built in Scotland still way below pre-recession levels, efforts to resolve Scotland’s housing crisis face a critical juncture, particularly in the context of the current Planning Bill going through Parliament and a land reform debate gaining momentum. Whatever the outcomes of these, it is clear to me that collaboration is key to finding new solutions to efficiently deliver significantly more homes. There are already many excellent examples of collaboration between home builders and housing associations. One such partnership is that of Hart Builders/Cruden Group and Eildon Housing Association who are working together in partnership predominantly through the Scottish Procurement Alliance and delivering around 400 new homes over nine sites in the Scottish Borders. Gill Henry, of Hart Builders/Cruden Group, says that working together from project inception has maximised efficiencies in process and in the design of new build affordable homes but equally importantly is supporting a wide range of community benefits, and focusing the benefits which flow from investing more than £40m. OUTCOMES TO be proud of include

the creation of a jointly funded community benefit officer post, early and monthly engagement with statutory consultees on a programme wide basis to level load workloads for all stakeholders, and the use of type approval for standard house types on larger sites to make the pre-construction programmes as efficient as possible. Such positive stories reinforce the importance of both home builder and housing associations building greater understanding of each other’s approach to what is actually a shared objective. Of course, there is always the potential for cultures to collide whenever traditionally distinct operations come together. But misgivings can disappear as partners get to know each other and

begin to better understand respective drivers. As Colin Connell, of Persimmon Partnerships, points out, repeat business with housing associations from local authority frameworks has led to collaboration that they are proud of, resulting in the successful delivery of a high number of new housing developments. Persimmon, like other builders, provides much land for affordable homes through Section 75 agreements, an essential factor in the affordable housing development process given that very few housing associations have land pipelines of their own or the ability to compete in the market for high value land. This highlights that, whilst the task of building 50,000 “affordable” homes remains the only measurable housing target in Scotland, the real challenge lies in increasing the delivery of all home types given the direct delivery relationship as set out by Scottish Planning Policy. IN ADDITION to the private sector

delivering land through section 75 agreements, some builders are investing in land for the specific purpose of developing affordable homes. In this model a housing association partner will be sought to purchase the completed units which will have been planned to meet the needs of the Strategic Housing Investment Plan for the area with a building specification prescribed by the housing association. The home builder in this instance would take on the land, planning and development risks. As Sandra Lindsay, of Springfield Properties, explains, a further advantage of this approach is that it utilises all the skill strengths of the home builder which against a background of stretched resources can be particularly efficient and beneficial for housing association partners. Clearly, however, the success of collaboration in delivering more homes goes far beyond public and private sector relationships. It is contingent upon a fit-for-purpose planning regime, the provision of the right infrastructure and the alignment of utilities, among a myriad of other things. Karen Campbell is director of policy and operations for Homes for Scotland.

There are already many excellent examples between home builders and housing associations

What is to be done? Start with land BY TONY CAIN There are lots of different ways of looking at housing issues and as many perspectives on how good or bad it is. CALA, for example have just announced their “six consecutive year of record revenues and profits”. On the other hand, the UK’s largest estate agent has issued a profit warning . The truth is the system works well for some and not so well for others. How we understand that in policy terms depends on our perspective. What about if we looked at it as a set of public policy outcomes? If we took the view that our housing system is the product of public policy decisions and interventions? What would the Equalities Impact Assessment say? There isn’t one, of course, but if there was it would conclude the housing outcomes for every single one of the groups covered by the Equalities legislation are demonstrably less good than for other households. To be clear, I’m not accusing anybody in the housing sector of being racist or of conscious discrimination of any sort. This is institutional discrimination, defined by Wikiepedia as: “….. the unjust and discriminatory mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals by society and its institutions as a whole, through unequal

selection or bias, intentional or unintentional; as opposed to individuals making a conscious choice to discriminate” I think it’s hard to understand the outcomes we see in any other way but institutional racism, institutional sexism, discrimination against those with disabilities of any and all sorts, against the LBGT community and young people. And of course, there are other areas of discrimination not covered by the equalities legislation. Homeless people, those in poverty, families in general, domestic violence survivors, Gypsy/Travellers. The list goes on. So, we have a UK and Scottish Governments presiding over a

“The effects of our broken housing market are spreading steadily through all communities and demographics” Sajid Javid

set of public policy outcomes that, were they to be tested in the courts against the requirements of equalities law, would be struck down as unlawful in their impact. That’s not such a startling revelation but it is surprising that there seems to be no great urgency to respond. I’m not sure I can think of any other industry or sector that would be let off such a serious charge so lightly. Back in November last year Sajid Javid (not a man whose speeches are read too often) said: “Now, like some kind of noxious oil slick, the effects of our broken housing market are spreading slowly but steadily through all our communities and all demographics.”. And he is quite right even if he very late in the day in coming to his conclusion. So, what is to be done? Start with land. Who owns it, how much it costs, how it’s taxed and how it’s developed and who gains when development takes place. Institutional failings don’t get fixed by piece meal reform. Governments have been trying that for decades. The system needs to be changed, it won’t change itself. Tony Cain is policy manager at ALACHO (Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers).


8 February 2018


Putting companionship at the heart

A modern approach, true to founding principles Crandeen is a new service to meet the changing needs of society BY WILLIAM PEAKIN An innovative approach to supported living for people, including the older group, is being pioneered in Scotland. The initiative aims to meet the changing needs of society and the expectations of people who are fit and able to live in their own homes - but who value the peace of mind that comes from being able to access a wide range of professional support when they need it or want it. Abbeyfield Scotland, the charity highly-regarded for its work supporting older people, has created Crandeen, a subsidiary which will offer a menu of services designed to complement independent living. The premium lifestyle company aims to ensure a quality and consistency of services, at the same time as giving users more say, choice, and flexibility in the way they are delivered. Launching in Aberdeen, Crandeen plans to expand into Aberdeenshire and then other areas of Scotland. The company has already set down roots in the city, with Abbeyfield purchasing for lease to Crandeen five two-bedroom bungalows from home builder Dandara, at the developer’s award-winning Hazelwood development in the west end. Designed to offer residents easy access, space, and flexibility, rental comes with a choice of services provided by Crandeen (see panel). In addition to the bungalows, Crandeen will be offering its home services package across the city, put-

ting companionship at the heart of a solid relationship, services can also be delivered ranging from ‘light touch’ assistance with tasks such as gardening and shopping, through to the provision of personal care. Professional, experienced staff, selected for their reliability, personality, and natural compassion, will make giving their time an integral part of any service that is provided. “We are experts in providing support in Scotland,” said Karen Barr, Crandeen’s director, “and we know that people prefer living in their own home, but with the option of having access to support and companionship if they need it, or indeed if they simply want some company or a little extra help. “Our companions will have the essential knowledge and experience, but critically, they will have time to become friends – to chat, to help and to advise. This will be a premium service which will provide unparalleled commitment, dedication and support to ensure that those who choose us can be assured of peace of mind as they live the lifestyles they chose, in the comfort and security of their own homes.” Crandeen offers a future of innovative service provision which is based

on choice and centred on time, compassion, and most importantly on companionship. Abbeyfield Scotland was born out of the organisation established in 1956 by Richard Carr-Gomm, the former Coldstream Guard whose wartime journey took him from the beaches of Normandy to the gates of the Belsen concentration camp. Twice injured by shrapnel, awarded the Croix de Guerre and a mention in dispatches, Carr-Gomm went on to dedicate his civilian life to another just war; the care of others, particularly those alone or simply lonely. As Paul Eddy, the late Sunday Times journalist, wrote in Carr-Gorm’s obituary in 2008: “Carr-Gomm’s conversion began in the warm summer of 1953 when, returning from a posting to the Suez Canal Zone in Egypt, he travelled via Malta and Sicily to Naples, where he took the slow train the length of Italy. “He travelled as a tramp, sleeping rough, eating scraps, drinking from public water taps, bathing in the sea and once, without her knowledge, in Gracie Fields’ swimming pool in Capri - not just because he had little money,

CRANDEEN’S RANGE OF SERVICES Built on a foundation of companionship, additional services include: General counselling; Befriending; Social interactions; Gardening; Window cleaning; Shopping; Dog walking; Arranging access to meals; Enabling of cooking and serving; Assisting with security; Assisting with small repairs; Arranging repairs/maintenance; Cleaning; Welfare checks; Advising and assisting with domestic equipment; Assisting

to engage with others (professionals, social); Arranging adaptations; Budget and debt management; Money advice and benefit claim; Assisting with relationships/ disputes; Resettlement and move-on; Telecare health/systems; Responding to alarms; Brokerage of other support services. www.crandeen.scot info@crandeen.scot 01224 925151

but ‘to see what it was like’. He discovered that the worst deprivation was the lack of human company. Because he looked like a tramp, he was treated like one, and never made welcome.” In 1955, Carr-Gorm bought a house in London for £250 - paid for from the small gratuity he received on leaving the Guards - which with the help of volunteers he renovated, and then took in people who found themselves alone. It was an act of compassion which grew into a national and international network of accommodation and support, that now comprises 850 houses and 9,000 residents worldwide. Today, Abbeyfield Scotland offers a distinct model of affordable, supported, independent living for older people at 16 locations across the country. Last year, it won two accolades at the UK’s National Housing for Older People Awards. As well as continuing to invest in its existing housing and staff, Abbeyfield’s management recognised that demographics, and people’s needs and outlooks, were changing. Now its mission is to be an “exemplar provider of care services to the marketplace and to those individuals who value their independence”. With Crandeen, Abbeyfield is building on solid foundations for future generations - a modern approach that stays true to its founding principles of compassion and companionship.

Why we need to prepare for an ageing population According to in-depth research carried out for Abbeyfield Scotland, which looked at the existing model of housing and care, and the future needs and expectations of older people over the next five to 15 years, a series of principles became clear. Part of this outlook is based on Scotland’s ageing population. Over the period 2001 to 2011, there has been a significant growth in the number of elderly people in Scotland. Nationally the largest increase (+22%) is in the 85+ years group, although both the 65+ years and 75+ years groups have also increased (+15% and +16%, respectively). As well as an increase in average age in the last 10 to 15 years, the older population is set to grow even more over the next two decades. A 17% national growth in household numbers is projected up to 2037 – from approximately 2.387m to 2.738m. However, in Scotland the population aged 60 years and over is projected to increase by 43% in the period up to 2037 from around 1.25m to 1.78m. For all age groups 65 years and over there is a projected increase, however the largest proportionate increases are in the two oldest groups of 85-89 years (+109%) and 90 years and over (+234%). The principles that can help support this change include empowerment and choice, a balance between housing and care needs, the role of preventative support services, emerging technologies, partnership, self-directed funding, and how personal outcomes can be embedded in future product and service delivery.



8 February 2018

Creating homes not just houses

How they can be delivered effectively through co-housing and self-build BY DAVID MCALLISTER, PAS As 2017 drew to a close, the Scottish Government introduced new legislation to the Scottish Parliament about planning our built environment. The introduction of the Planning (Scotland) Bill follows the launch of an independent review of the planning system in Scotland (which published its findings in May 2016), followed by a position statement from the Scottish Government in June last year. The review invited views from individuals and organisations and, when the whole process is completed, it will result in the first major change to the planning system in Scotland since the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006. The provision of housing was a major theme in the review, with a focus on “the delivery of more high-quality homes”. This acknowledged a shortage of housing and, importantly, highlighted the need not just for housing but for homes – and affordable homes. The review also recognised the links between people having a home and their wider well-being and equality. Housing, like almost everything else, is about demand and supply, and Scottish Government-funded support to help people get onto the ‘property ladder’ - for instance, through a helpto-buy scheme – has proven a welcome boost, for many especially young people in their 20s and 30s, on the demand side. But the key issue is supply. We face an enormous housing shortage in Scotland and any remedy is going to have to take on the challenge of increasing supply. Housing can be delivered in a variety of ways, including traditional housebuilders, Housing Associations and individuals choosing to self-build. But are we overlooking an important additional element from this mix? At PAS, we’ve seen a growing interest from communities in co-housing initiatives over the last few years, as an alternative way to delivering affordable

homes. Co-housing is a form of collective self-build and can take a number of different forms and cover all different tenures. The idea of co-housing finds its roots in Scotland – from the establishment of the Camphill School (and subsequently Camphill Village Trusts) in Aberdeen in the late 1930s and the Findhorn Community in the 1960s. However, it is elsewhere in Europe that co-housing has really established itself as an effective vehicle for creating homes and communities. The architect, Patrick Devlin, has described co-housing as “an intentional community, with shared interests, aspirations and ethics, that wants to leverage that into a physical space where the balance of privacy and communality is critical”.

Tübingen is committed to prioritising self-build building co-operatives

IT IS THIS balance between the private

and the communal that is at the heart of co-housing and that makes it a flexible approach to delivering homes – people come together and define what they need and how a development can best work for them and their community. The model used in one location will not necessarily be the right one for another location, it will depend on the aspirations of the community, the local authority’s approach toward such initiatives and the context of the local area. But the approach – of enabling communities to deliver the kind of

“An intentional community, with shared interests, aspirations and ethics, where the balance of privacy and communality is critical” Patrick Devlin

homes that they want and need – can bring benefits in any location. Co-housing offers particular benefits to both ends of the housing market, helping both first-time buyers and renters, as well as an ageing population looking for a greater choice in housing options later in life. The status quo is particularly failing these two ends of the spectrum and the lessons from elsewhere in Europe show that co-housing can be part of the solution. The benefits are not just economic (co-housing is often cheaper to deliver), but social and environmental, empowering communities to have a tangible influence over their place. In a recent piece of research, Edinburgh-based architect, Malcolm Fraser, said: “[Co-housing] empowers local groups to obtain land and commission design, resulting in more innovative architectural solutions than the market currently delivers.” Look at such an example, in Germany (see panel: Doing things differently). According to research by Steven Tolson, a recent former Chair of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland, less than 0.5 per cent of all housing stock in the UK is delivered by co-housing, whereas the European average is ten per cent. And in countries such as Sweden, this number rises to nearly 20 per cent. In total, according to relatively recent fig-

ures, self-build, including co-housing, accounts for 50 per cent of housing stock in Europe, but only 10-15 per cent in the UK. New homes can be delivered effectively through co-housing and selfbuild elsewhere in Europe. Why not in Scotland? The new Planning Bill is an opportunity for the Scottish Government to find new ways to achieve its own ambitious target of 50,000, new and affordable homes by the end of this parliamentary term, 2021. ONE WAY TO reach that target (and

go beyond it) would be to recognise the contribution that all types of house building can play in delivering affordable homes in Scotland. In a society where homelessness and lack of access to a home is seen as unacceptable, we need to look at all the levers at our disposal for delivering quality, affordable homes. The co-housing and collective self-build agenda needs support to overcome the institutional barriers they face, including changes to the financial and legal arrangements needed (e.g. establish a collective selfbuild loan fund or a Scottish mutual finance structure). Scotland can reap the benefits that co-housing delivers elsewhere in Europe, but, to do so, we need to do things differently. Having begun in Scotland, and

having already made a big contribution to delivering homes in Europe, isn’t it time for Scotland to re-embrace co-housing? The independent review of the planning system specifically highlighted co-housing and self-build in its recommendations: “There is a significant opportunity to move beyond the debate on housing numbers, to actively promote more innovative delivery models, such as the build-to-rent sector, self-build and co-housing models. Many believe that there is a need for greater flexibility and a move away from reliance on the market sector to meet housing needs.” Whilst the new Bill itself makes no specific reference to co-housing and self-build at this stage, its accompanying policy guidance suggests that the proposed new Simplified Development Zones introduced in the Bill may help to unlock land for “alternative delivery models such as custom and self-build”. At the same time as the Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in December, the Scottish Government launched a £90,000 pilot project for custom and self-build, to provide support to individuals looking to build their own home Through the bill process and the new pilot scheme, there’s a chance that Scotland just might be about to re-embrace co-housing.


8 February 2018



Doing things differently One European town parcels up plots and readies them for development, predominantly for small-scale cooperatives to develop The university town of Tübingen, a small city around 40km south of Stuttgart, has been doing things differently. The city purchases land and readies it for development. Since 1985, all development has taken place on brownfield sites. The focus has been on creating urban neighbourhoods instead of mono-functional residential estates. This means a lot of small-scale, mixed-use developments, mixing homes with shops, offices and workshops – indeed, the town is known as the ‘city of short distances’ because nothing is very far away in a mixeduse city. The mayor talks about public space as the ‘living room of the neighbourhoods’ - and places great emphasis on enabling residents to create quality public spaces. But what is perhaps most interesting about the development of Tübingen in recent years, is that the city has committed to prioritising self-build building co-operatives. The city parcels up plots and readies them for development, predominantly for small-scale co-operatives to develop. These co-operatives can be made up of individuals, couples, families and even small companies – in effect, groups made up of different generations, working together. Each of these groups forms a co-operative and then commissions an architect to come up with designs that meet their needs. These builds typically come in at up to 20% lower cost than would be the case with a traditional private developer, with higher standards (because the people living in them have designed them) and have no problem attracting financing from local banks, which have designed financial instruments to support collective builds. The entire ethos of these new developments in Tübingen is for local people to be active participants in shaping their places. The city gains more liveable, sustainable and more inclusive communities on former brownfield sites, while citizens become actors and influencers of their own high-quality place.

Communities leading the way Local Place Plans will be an opportunity for communities to exercise greater influence

Development Plan, moving away from top-down and enabling a communityup approach. In fact, we helped to trial just such an approach. In the summer of 2015, the Highland Council approved an innovative Community Land Use Plan, designed to reverse population decline on the The new Planning Bill that is making its way through the Scottish Parliament Isle of Rum. The Plan was approved as supplementary planning guidance to has introduced new opportunities for the West Highlands and Islands Local communities to be more involved in shaping their local places, writes David Development Plan. The Isle of Rum Community Trust McAllister. (IRCT) enlisted the help of PAS to Picking up on one of the 48 recomproduce the plan, which is based on mendations made by the Independent Review of the Scottish Planning System a significant amount of community engagement with Rum residents and in May 2016, the Scottish Government has put introduced ‘Local Place Plans’ in other key stakeholders such as Scottish Natural Heritage, whilst working in the new Planning Bill. partnership with the Highland Council. The idea is that Local Place Plans The plan will give the Community will significantly improve community engagement in the planning process by Trust and current and future resienabling local people to articulate their dents of the island more certainly as to where much-needed new houses voice from the very beginning of the can be located and will help meet the development plan process. We have supported and promoted the Trust’s aim of growing the population idea of community-led plans here at PAS of the island to a more sustainable level. The plan also looked at other possible for some time. The concept of a comchanges on the island including improvmunity-led plan marks a notable shift ing the village centre of Kinloch and from the traditional council-led Local

creating a better tourist experience. Consideration has also been given to the fact that any development on Rum must be balanced with the need to protect its unique natural and built heritage which includes the A-Listed Kinloch Castle and a high number of natural heritage designations. Nic Goddard, a director of the Isle of Rum Community Trust said: “This plan will help pave the way to attracting new people and businesses to invest in Rum. We need to grow the population of our village and diversify the island’s

“This plan will help pave the way to attracting new people and businesses” Nic Goddard

economy and this plan will help bring us closer to making that happen. We would like to thank Awards for All Scotland and also Highland Council for their ground-breaking support in allowing this plan to take place – and to PAS who together with their associates and volunteers undertook a fun and engaging process working with the community and Highland Council to deliver a very user-friendly result.” Speaking at the time of the Community Land Use Plan being approved, Tim Stott, Highland Council Principal Planner, said: “The Highland Council has supported the aims of this engagementbased project and believes that this kind of community-led plan could be a model for other communities in its area.” The example of the Isle of Rum Community Land Use Plan would be a good starting point when considering what Local Place Plans could achieve and how they might work on the ground. In the current climate, local authorities simply do not have the resources to create localised plans to the level of detail as the Rum Community Land Use Plan, but nor are they the best

placed to create them. Communities are those who are best placed to create Local Place Plans, with this plan feeding up into the Local Development Plan that covers the wider area. Not only will this be an opportunity for communities to exercise greater influence, it will allow local authorities to benefit from community knowledge and help achieve the community’s aspirations for their place. Local Place Plans promise a more collaborative approach, where communities will be able to exert an equal ownership of the plan just as much as the local authority. But as part of the new right to create a Local Place Plan, there will also be a responsibility on the community groups working together to create their plan to ensure that all voices are heard within the community, as part of a transparent, open and inclusive process. Whatever form Local Place Plans ultimately take as the Bill moves through the Scottish Parliament, we look forward to continuing to help communities across Scotland create the kind of place that works for them.



8 February 2018

Clayson House, Bridgewater’s Extra Care Development & Bridgewater Staff at Erskine Gala Day

Bridgewater staff at Erskine Gala Day

Coming of age Bridgewater Housing Association is celebrating its 21st anniversary. BY WILLIAM PEAKIN The ‘New Community’ of Erskine, which lies within Renfrewshire, is situated on the south bank of the River Clyde, beside Erskine Bridge. As well as being a unique landmark, the bridge is a major link in both the national road network of the UK and the regional motorway system of the West of Scotland. Erskine therefore occupies a strategic position within the Clyde Valley and its residents have fast and convenient access to all the major centres of business, employment and recreation. Erskine provides a residential area of high amenities and spacious environment within easy reach of mountain and water scenery. The Scottish Special Housing Association (SSHA) began building at Bargarran, Erskine, in May 1970. Erskine was an ‘overspill’ development, with properties initially let to Glasgow ‘overspill’ tenants and essential incom-

ing workers. To meet the need for economic expansion, priority was given to people working in the manufacturing and service industries in the area. It was projected that by 1982 some 9,500 houses would be built in Erskine with a population of 30,000 - 4,000 of those houses were to be built by private developers and 5,500 were to be built by SSHA. Public sector house building in 1983 when the overspill programme ended. By that time, 3,391 properties had been built in four distinct areas. “The reason the work stopped is bound up in national and local politics and disagreements between local authorities about who should get the Rate income from the residents,” said Bridgewater Housing Association Chief Executive Ian McLean, “or at least that is what I was told 21 years ago!” SSHA, along with the Housing Corporation in Scotland, became Scottish Homes in 1989. THE ORIGINS of the association lie in the decision by the UK government at that time to divest Scottish Homes of its landlord role in Scotland (see ‘Bridgewater’s beginnings’). “It’s been a privilege to be the Chief Executive of Bridgewater Housing

The Association’s newbuild at Rashielee North Association over the past 21 years,” said Ian. “The association is still pretty much an infant in housing association terms, but the scope and reach of its work during the past two decades has undoubtedly made a difference to so many people’s lives in Erskine and elsewhere in Renfrewshire. I’m immensely proud of the work that the Board and staff team have achieved, working with the community during this time.” Recently, McLean was asked by his board to consider the difference that Bridgewater has made; in other words what would not have happened if the association did not exist. “The list was a sobering resume of the investment which the association has made in the property it owns,” he reflected, “in the environment which it is responsible for protecting, and in the people who volunteer or work with it.

“Quite often, because of hectic work schedules which we all keep in the housing association world, it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees. Looking at the difference we’ve made helped us to reaffirm our commitment to our customers and the community in Erskine and to commit to do more and better during the next 21 years.” BRIDGEWATER IS led by a voluntary

“Looking at the difference we’ve made helped us reaffirm our commitment to our customers and the community, and to commit to do more and better during the next 21 years”

and unpaid board, comprising tenants, other service users, and individuals who have an interest in the association. It makes key decisions on governance and provides challenge and oversight for the team to ensure that all decisions and activity are in the best interests of tenants. Members have a range of skills developed over many years as employees, service users, managers, elected members, civil servants, and board members of other organisations. The current chairperson is a tenant, retired shipbuilder Hugh Cameron, and its longest serving member is Willie Robertson (see ‘A brilliant ambassador’). “The association is used to working in a very volatile environment,” observed Ian, “and considerable change continues to take place in the financial, political, legislative and social framework within which the association operates.” These include high levels of need for new affordable housing, Social Security reform, the availability of capital grant for affordable housing, the changing role of the Scottish Housing Regulator, social inclusion and the association’s wider role in the community in which it works, and the need for increased energy efficiency in all our housing. “Our mission,” said Ian, “is to be a customer focussed organisation which delivers the best affordable housing and services to people who need them most.”

Ian McLean


Top grade for housing support service The Care Inspectorate recently graded Bridgewater’s Housing Support Service ‘Grade 6 – Excellent’ following an unannounced inspection in October 2017. This grading covers quality of care and support; quality of staffing; and quality of management and leadership. The Association’s Housing Support Service delivers support to just over 100 older people across three sheltered housing developments in Erskine. The Inspector commented that the Association’s sheltered tenants “receive excellent, flexible support that helps them to achieve positive outcomes. It was evident that staff had developed effective, trusting working relationships with people being supported. “Staff were described as inclusive, skilled and good at promoting independence. We heard examples of ways people thought staff went the extra mile.” Other strengths included the emphasis on participation, continuous service developments and staff retention. The Association’s Chair, Hugh Cameron, commented: “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of the latest inspection. We have been a Grade 5 for the last few years and it is great to see the hard work and commitment of our housing support team being recognised through the excellence award. “We know how much our sheltered tenants value the service and their contribution to the inspection process was crucial as service users.”


8 February 2018

Bridgewater’s beginnings

Willie Robertson: Working for the common good

A brilliant ambassador One man’s vision, tenacity, and leadership have been central to Bridgewater’s success Much of Bridgewater’s history can be traced through the tenure of one of its founder Board members, Willie Robertson. In 1994, at the age of 67, Willie attended a meeting where he volunteered to become involved in a steering group to look into tenure diversification in Erskine. This led to the formation of Bridgewater Housing Association Steering Group in 1995, with Willie being elected as Chair in 1996. Willie’s contribution to housing in Erskine is remarkable for a number of reasons, and the Association is what it is today in no small measure through Willie’s vision, tenacity, and leadership over the years. During this time on the Board, Willie has held the posts of chair and vice-chair and is currently a member of the Association’s Scrutiny and Land and Property Management sub-committees. Willie moved to Erskine in 1979, with his wife Maisie, when the ‘New Community’ was still under development by the Scottish Special Housing Association. He was 52 and worked as


an industrial relations officer with the Talbot Motor Company in Linwood. From the outset Willie was involved in building local spirit and was active in the fledgling Erskine Community Association. His interest in people and their living environment grew and Willie became one of the founder members of Erskine Elderly Forum, set up to respond to the needs of the town’s older residents. Willie’s motivation, commitment and dedication to the provision of affordable rented housing in Erskine, managed by the community, was a driving force in guiding the processes which led to a successful ballot and stock transfer in 1998. On a daily basis, he would undertake home visits, talking to people wherever and whenever he could to encourage them to ‘use their vote’. His philosophy is to get the community working together for the common good, encouraging people to consider their own contributions. Willie’s involvement has been influential in shaping both the community and the services provided to its residents. Willie’s vision for Bridgewater to become a developer was first realised when the association obtained grant funding to build nine amenity flats and a 26-unit Extra Care housing devel-

opment, known as Rashielee South. Completed in 2008, it coincided with Bridgewater’s 10th anniversary. In recognition of Willie’s remarkable contribution not just to the association, but the wider community, the development was named Robertson House, a lasting legacy of his community work. Willie’s determination for older people to live at home for as long as possible was further rewarded when Bridgewater’s second Extra Care Development, Clayson House, was formally opened in 2009. It comprises 20 self-contained flats within a two-storey building. Special features include a sensory garden, a dining room, and lounge area where residents can take meals and socialise. Critically aware of the shortage of good quality, affordable housing in Erskine, Willie envisaged further development opportunities for Bridgewater. This was realized in 2013, when 92 general needs houses and flats were completed at Rashielee North, the first new-build mainstream housing for rent in Erskine in 30 years. Willie has just turned 90 and his energy and commitment to the Association is undiminished. A brilliant ambassador for the housing movement, he is dedicated to ensuring that the Association rises to the challenges which lie ahead.

The origins of Bridgewater Housing Association lie in the decision by the UK Government during the 1980’s to divest Scottish Homes of its landlord role in Scotland. In December 1997, tenants of Scottish Homes in Erskine voted to support the transfer of ownership and management of their homes to Bridgewater Housing Association Ltd. A newly formed group of local people, supported by Scottish Homes and consultants, prepared a business case for the transfer and ultimately formed the first Board of Bridgewater Housing Association. On 15 April 1998 the transfer of 946 houses and flats, together with 499 garages into community ownership took place. Bridgewater also took ownership of and responsibility for the maintenance of 32 hectares of green open spaces, more than 18 miles of un-adopted footpaths, 250 un-adopted car parks, and several small un-adopted roads. Ownership of these “non-housing assets” makes it unique in Scotland. The Association’s open spaces and particularly green spaces, contribute significantly to the popularity and amenity of the area for residents of all tenures. Their effective maintenance and management have a systemic influence over the reputation of the Association and have a positive effect on the value of the housing generally. Of the 3,391 houses and flats built by the Scottish Special Housing Association between 1972 and 1983, 2,445 had been sold under right to buy legislation by the time of the stock transfer to Bridgewater. By 2015, a further 303 properties had been bought by residents. During the same period, the Association sought to stabilise the number of properties for rent, and through a combination of grant funding and its own resources, purchased 62 former SSHA properties on the open market In early 2000, Bridgewater began

Protecting and enhancing the natural environment is an association priority

the process of increasing its stock through the development of new build social rented housing. Renfrewshire Council’s local housing strategy and strategic investment plan had identified the need for extra care and amenity housing within the Erskine area. This requirement coincided with Bridgewater’s ambition to increase its housing stock and meet demand from older residents for housing with support. Generally while people want to remain in an area they know, as their lives progress their housing and other needs change and the provision of housing with support means that residents can transition from mainstream, to sheltered, and/or extra care housing. Over the years, Bridgewater has steadily increased provision of both its mainstream and Extra Care housing, bringing its total stock available for rent to 849 properties. Its recently refreshed business plan includes ensuring a programme of continuous improvement is implemented effectively to support the excellent services which customers have become used to.

BRIDGEWATER’S STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES Increase, as well as manage and maintain, high quality affordable homes. Increase tenants’ opportunities to influence change. Deliver high quality, cost efficient, services. Protect the environment and the value of our assets. Provide a challenging, supportive, and rewarding work environment for staff and board members.


Addressing the land question At the heart of the housing debate is a question about value BY SHONA GLENN The price of land accounts for a substantial and growing proportion of the cost of a new home and many people argue that land economics is an important factor in Scotland’s housing market. This is why understanding the housing land question – and developing policy options to help address it – is an important part of the remit of the Scottish Land Commission. The commission was established in April last year, to help create a Scotland where everybody benefits from the ownership, management, and use of Scotland’s land and buildings. Land for housing and development is a key priority area of work for the commission. At the heart of the housing land debate is a question about value. The value of land is heavily dependent on the use to which it can be put and the amenities and infrastructure in the

surrounding area. This means that the value of well-connected land, with planning permission, located close to public amenities is typically much higher than land without such advantages. The fact that these advantages arise as a result of the public sector, acting on behalf of the community by granting residential permission or investing in infrastructure is frequently used as a justification for capturing a share of the value for the wider community. How best to capture this uplift for the benefit of society is one of the important issues we will be looking at over the next three years. There is a broad spectrum of options that could potentially be used to address this but before looking at these it is important that we learn from past experience. Numerous attempts have been made over the years to capture land value uplift in the UK with limited success. We are undertaking a review of the UK’s historic experience of land value capture to identify what works – and what doesn’t. We will then undertake more detailed work on what potential options might look like.

8 February 2018 In 2016 there were 12,435 hectares of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland

In 2016 there were 12,435 hectares of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland. The commission is working towards making more of Scotland’s land, and as part of this will also be looking at the different approaches for addressing the problem of vacant and derelict land and bringing it back into productive use. Bringing even a small proportion of this forward for housing development could make a significant contribution to Scotland’s housing market. One tool that could help with this is Compulsory Sales Orders (CSOs). CSOs would be a new legal mechanism that would enable local authorities to require land that has been vacant or derelict, for an undue period of time, to be sold by public auction to the highest bidder. We are in the process of developing more detailed proposals

for CSOs and will be engaging with key stakeholders about this over the course of the next few months. Any discussion of the housing land market would be incomplete without reference to tax. By affecting people’s decisions about buying, selling and developing land, tax can have an important impact on the housing land market. Over the next three years the Scottish Land Commission will be looking broadly at how fiscal policy affects decisions about land ownership and use. Over the course of this year we will also be looking specifically at the potential of land value taxation in contributing to important land reform objectives – including those related to the housing land market. Our starting point for this work is to look at international experience of

land value taxation and investigate the potential to use this tool, to help bring about a more productive, accountable and diverse pattern of land ownership and use in Scotland. In this, as in other areas of our work relating to housing land, we are keen to learn from the wealth of expertise and experience that exists within the housing sector. To enable us to do this we will be engaging widely with the sector over the coming months. Shona Glenn is head of policy and research (land) at the Scottish Land Commission. Join the conversation: www. landcommission.gov.scot, sign up to our newsletter, follow our blog, Facebook or Twitter @ScottishLandCom

Offering independent advice and assistance Care and Repair Services Care and Repair Services operate throughout Scotland to offer independent advice and assistance to help homeowners repair, improve or adapt their homes so that they can live independently in comfort and safety in their own community. The service is available to owner-occupiers, private tenants and crofters who are aged 60 or over and people who have a disability of any age group. CARE AND REPAIR SCOTLAND

Care and Repair Scotland is the national coordinating body for Care and Repair in Scotland. Our aim is to provide a national platform to lead, promote and support local Care and Repair teams to work collaboratively in order to achieve strategic outcomes by helping older and disabled persons to live independently in their own homes. MORE ABOUT OUR SERVICES

The provision of advice and information is a central part of Care and Repair’s role, as well as providing practical assistance with grant applications and co-ordinating repairs. Care and Repair is a home-based and personalised service, which puts the client in control of decisions. Staff visit people at home and assist them through the entire process of deciding what work is to be done, arranging finance and organising the building works.

Each case involves a different approach and often staff must cross disciplinary and departmental boundaries, working closely with health, housing and social work staff. The building work is funded in a variety of ways, including local authority grants, benefits, equity release, home loans, and charitable funds. Some local offices operate a waiting list and there may be variations in what qualifies for assistance in each local authority area. HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE INTEGRATION

We know that the Care and Repair movement needs to work much more closely with colleagues in health and social care, and to look at how services can be delivered more efficiently together, for example, through facilitating hospital discharge, managing equipment stores or helping to deliver telecare and telehealth. For further information please contact: Care and Repair Scotland 135 Buchannan Street Glasgow G1 2JA T: 0141 221 9879 www.careandrepairscotland.co.uk nquiries@careandrepairscotland.co.uk

PAS is Scotland’s leading place and active citizenship charity. We believe creating great places, together with communities all across Scotland, is crucial for our physical, mental, social and economic wellbeing. We want to see a planning system that is inclusive, positive and innovative, and our role is to empower communities to be active citizens in their own places through education and advice, awareness raising,

and facilitating positive dialogue. We are a volunteer-led organisation supported by a network of over 430 specialist volunteers, including professionals from across the built environment sector. We work with individuals and communities, in particular engaging seldom-heard groups who cannot readily engage in the planning system.

PLANNING ADVICE PAS offers a free, impartial and confidential planning advice service, provided by our specialist volunteers, all of whom are chartered planners. Submit your enquiry through our website www.pas.org.uk or by calling 0300 323 7602. Calls cost no more than a national rate call. Planning Aid for Scotland, known as PAS. Registered Address: 3rd Floor, 125 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4AD. Registered in Scotland SC143209. Registered Charity SC021337

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HousingScot 8 February 2018  

HousingScot 8 February 2018  


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