Fife Council has been accused of “financial insanity” in its bid to meet an affordable housing target.
SNP councillor David Alexander claimed officers had paid over the odds for new homes built by a private developer near Kennoway as they feared they would not meet the target of creating 2,700 affordable homes in time.
This was despite the fact there was room for the 11 houses on a council housing site nearby.
Mr Alexander said that while the purchase at Bonnybank had met local authority policy and was approved by the Scottish Government, the council had paid far more money than necessary at a time of tight budgets and reduced public spending.
“Kingdom Housing Association has bought these 11 houses but Fife Council contributed £265,000 to help with the purchase,” he said.
“They are paying over the odds to meet a political target and it’s bizarre because Fife Council is building houses for rent on the site of the old Kennoway Primary School less than half a mile away.”
Mr Alexander stated there was room for 40 homes at the school site but only 25 were being built.
“There is a site there under council control where they could have got 11 houses for substantially less than paying a private developer for them,” he said.
“I can’t accept this is the best way to go. It is financially insane.”
Fife Council’s head of housing, John Mills, said he had met Mr Alexander to discuss his concerns.
“The council has acknowledged there is additional capacity at the former Kennoway Primary School site and that this may be further developed in a future phase of council new builds over the next five years,” he said.
“In terms of Bonnybank, an opportunity arose for one of our housing partners to acquire houses from a private developer for use as housing association properties.”
Mr Mills said the commercial transaction was fully approved by the Scottish Government and the contribution from the council came from the use of second homes council tax funding.
“Fife Council believes that the building of new homes in Kennoway by the council and the acquisition of additional homes by Kingdom is a valuable contribution to our 2,700 new homes target by May 2017,” he said.