Aberdeen affordable housing project needs government backing, say developers.

Barratt Homes has issued a warning to Aberdeen City Council, indicating that its plans to build 91 homes on the site of the demolished Cordyce School may be in jeopardy without financial support from the council.

The concern arises as it was disclosed that the council received £4 million less than anticipated from the Scottish Government for funding housebuilding initiatives aimed at housing associations.

If the necessary funds are not secured by the council, Barratt Homes proposes that thirty affordable homes already constructed in the nearby area of Bucksburn be included in the total count for the Cordyce development, as reported by The Press and Journal.

The plans for the development of the Cordyce school site were approved in August 2023, with 22 of the homes designated as affordable housing for Grampian Housing Association.

During a meeting with city councillors, Aberdeen City Council’s planning chief, David Dunne, conveyed the developers’ stance, stating: “The developers have made it clear that if the off-site option is not feasible, financially they will be unable to proceed with the project.”

“For the scheme to commence, the developer requires assurance. It is evident that the most financially viable solution is for the affordable housing to be built on-site.

“Therefore, that is the developer’s aim, it aligns with their interests as well as Grampian Housing Association’s,” Mr. Dunne added.

Mr. Dunne also highlighted the risk to the entire school site redevelopment if the off-site housing option is declined. He mentioned that the lack of profit from the site would make it unviable for the developer’s board to proceed with the project.

Despite this, Labour councillor Sandra Macdonald advocated for Barratt to proceed with constructing the affordable housing at the Cordyce site, advocating against the developer’s off-site alternative.

She emphasized the pressing need for affordable housing in the city and urged adhering to the council’s policy, stating, “We must demand increased funding from the Scottish Government to facilitate projects like these.”

“Aberdeen has a successful track record of delivering high-quality social housing, and I am keen to see this momentum continue without setting any undesirable precedents,” she expressed.

Ms. Macdonald further asserted, “It is imperative to take a firm stand now and reject the off-site proposal. We require the necessary funding to ensure the development proceeds as initially agreed.”

Despite her plea, the council voted against Ms. Macdonald’s proposition by a majority of seven votes to two, opting for flexibility in the hopes of safeguarding the redevelopment of the former school site.

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