As part of the More Homes Scotland approach, linked to the delivery of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, the SNP Government is introducing a new five-year Housing Infrastructure Fund with £50 million available in 2016/17.
The fund will support the delivery of housing through the use of financial assistance. While all types and tenures of housing are eligible for support, priority will be given to projects delivering affordable and private rented housing within the next five years.
The fund will operate at a national level and be managed and administered by the SNP Government.
Local authorities are invited as part of the development of their Strategic Housing Investment Plans to identify priority housing sites that could, with support from the fund, be unlocked to bring forward housing within the next five years.
The Housing Infrastructure Fund comprises two main elements:
• Infrastructure loans (to non-public sector organisations)
• Infrastructure grants available to local authorities and registered social landlords (RSLs) to support affordable housing delivery.
Offers of assistance may comprise one or more of these elements depending on each individual project. Registered social landlords for example, could access both grant and loan where a site has both an affordable and market element.
Housing Infrastructure Grants will be available to local authorities and RSLs for the delivery of affordable housing sites where the scale and nature of infrastructure costs would prevent it from being supported through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme.
The fund will also build on the experience of previous initiatives such as the House Building Infrastructure Loan Fund as well as the Accelerated House Building Pilot which sought to accelerate large scale sites in areas of market demand.
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson said:
"I welcome the introduction of the fund as part of the solution to unlocking sites and delivering more affordable housing for rent.
"The lack of suitable infrastructure is one of the key constraints to delivering more new build affordable housing and is heartening that this fund has been set up in order to enable the development of more affordable homes."
Housing associations interested in applying for the fund, or with sites in North Ayrshire that they believe may be eligible for support, should contact North Ayrshire Council.