Dundee-based housing association Hillcrest will build more than 1,000 homes in the next 18 months to help meet demand for social housing.
The ambitious building plan is supported by a £20 million Scottish Government grant given to help increase the country’s stock of affordable homes.
Hillcrest will build 650 homes this year and 400 homes in 2022.
It currently has 24 developments on site to meet the rising demand for affordable housing.
From 0 to 700 homes in three years
The pandemic has a major impact on the affordable housing developments.
Building had to stop for a few months last year, before health and safety restrictions were in place.
Fiona Morrison, deputy chief executive, says she is confident about delivering the construction plans.
She says: “It was difficult, but because the construction industry was able to keep going through the second lockdown, that made things like slightly easier.
“The issues this year though will be building materials because of Brexit, the Suez Canal situation and the pandemic.
“The prices are going through the roof because of that and there’s a bit of a labour shortage as well.
“Hopefully we will be able to get through and complete the 650 homes.
“We’ve only done Aberdeen in the last couple of years and quite a high number of our completions are there.
“So we go from zero to about 700 units in the space of about three years, so that’s good.”
Third largest in the UK
Hillcrest Homes delivered 360 homes in Dundee, Angus, Aberdeen and Perth and Kinross last year.
Of these, 327 were for social rent, while 33 were for mid-market rent.
This places the housing association third on UK-wide Inside Housing’s Biggest Builders 2021 list for delivering the most homes for social rent in the past year.
The 360 homes include 27 homes completed against a highland backdrop on the edge of Crieff, and 12 new homes in Dundee’s West-End on Benvie Road.
130 modern, energy-efficient apartments were built at Abbotswell Road in Aberdeen.
Hillcrest’s building programme has been backed by a £50 million loan secured from RBS.
Fiona believes if it had not been for the pandemic, they could have completed more.
She says: “We’ve got a small team of seven office staff and five staff on site, so to be third in the UK is quite an achievement for us.
“It just shows how well we work together, and with local authorities.
“There’s a whole lot of hurdles in housing development to get over, but because we’ve been in the game for quite a long time I that helps.”
Hillcrest housing association plans
This year the company plans almost 150 affordable homes across four developments in Dundee – Candle Lane, Derby Street, Seagate and Soapwork Lane.
It also plans 35 affordable homes at Sunnyside in Montrose and 70 units across Crieff, Alyth and Perth. In Aberdeen it will create 350 homes as well as 45 in Edinburgh.
It has secured permission eight new energy-efficient flats in Kinross.
Hillcrest Homes was established in 1967 and is one of Scotland’s largest housing associations.
The group provides housing and support in Dundee, Edinburgh, Angus, Perthshire, Fife and Aberdeen. It has more than 6,500 homes at affordable rents.