Housing for Glasgow is key to achieving the SNP’s ambitions for our city, and an essential tool in tackling inequality and lifting people out of poverty. Living in a decent, warm, affordable home helps children and young people to thrive and attain their potential, and promotes better health and wellbeing throughout life. Without a varied stock of high quality homes across the city, we will not be able to attract and keep the people and families we need to grow our population and economy. Well-designed buildings that support people’s changing needs as they grow older help to maintain independent living and allow people to remain in their own homes. And new housing developments, planned and built with the best outcomes for people in mind, can help to regenerate communities that have suffered deprivation and neglect and bring new life to every corner of Glasgow.
Glasgow City Council is no longer a direct housing provider, but it remains the Strategic Housing Authority for the city. The SNP believes that the Council bears the primary responsibility for ensuring that Glasgow has the right number and the right kind of homes to meet the needs of our citizens throughout their lives.
- An SNP City Government will work with housing associations, developers and government to deliver on Glasgow’s share of the Scottish Government’s commitment to build 50,000 affordable new homes in Scotland, including 35,000 for social rent.
- Wherever possible, we will quickly free up land for new housing – particularly for building by Registered Social Landlords, including community-based housing associations. We will step up the Council’s investment in the remediation of vacant brownfield sites suitable for housing.
- We will ensure that the Council’s housing strategies give sufficient weight to the social rented sector and provide for availability of affordable housing throughout the city, making greater use of planning conditions where necessary. We will ensure that smaller community-based housing associations are able to compete on a level playing field with larger social landlords and developers.
- We will develop a Strategic Agreement with community based associations and the Glasgow Housing Associations Forum to improve focus on areas and issues which are most relevant to local associations.
- We will review the Council’s planning regulations so that they support new developments that deliver the best outcomes for people and communities. Houses do not exist in isolation, but should be built as one element of liveable, socially connected, health-promoting communities. We will introduce local Masterplanning, on a neighbourhood basis, so that issues such as the availability of education and other local services, community amenities, green space and traffic management are fully taken into account when new developments are being built. We will ensure that the Council’s housing policies are able to respond to particular pressures in local markets.
- Planning charrettes (forums for community discussion and planning of new developments) will become an integral part of our planning system, ensuring that new public and private house build projects meaningfully involve local people and communities from the earliest stages of development.
- The SNP shares the concerns of many Glaswegians that the quality and look of some new private housing developments not only do not live up to the city’s great architectural heritage, but also do not do enough to contribute to creating liveable communities. We want to encourage and attract new private housing developments in Glasgow, but we also want to make sure that they positively enhance the city and benefit people.
- Drawing on the example of other European cities, we will create the role of City Architect, to act as a guide and adviser for politicians, planners and developers to ensure that the growth and development of new housing and other buildings in Glasgow meet rigorous standards on factors such as energy efficiency, public space, visual impact and accessibility for people with disabilities and mobility problems.
- We want to grow the numbers of people who are able to make their homes in Glasgow city centre. We will promote the Council’s strategy for city centre living and conduct further research to establish what would entice people to choose the city centre as their home and to establish what services are required to make this possible. We will encourage self-build, modular housing and other innovations in house-building, particularly on new brownfield sites.
- We will take a more strategic approach to parts of the city where poor housing conditions are still found, particularly in privately owned tenemental stock. We will work with the Scottish Government to create more Enhanced Enforcement Areas, where appropriate, and with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) who can act as Managing Agents on behalf of the Council. We will establish an enforcement project team in the Council to work with RSLs on tenemental areas.
- We will learn lessons from work already carried out and from our whole-community strategy for Govanhill and extend and adapt this for other areas of the city facing similar challenges.
- The current private sector acquisition strategy needs a more strategic definition and focus; the Council and RSLs should work jointly to develop strategies for acquisition and improvement.
- We will make greater use of the private landlord registration system and Scottish Government legislation to pressure and enforce improvement in properties and property management.
- While we understand that owners have a responsibility to maintain their properties, we also recognise that maintenance and repair of older homes can be an expensive challenge, particularly in tenements. We will work with government, housing associations and homeowners to devise a long-term programme of repair and maintenance of our pre-1919 estate and wider housing stock.
- Glasgow's many thousands of students deserve to live in quality affordable accommodation. We will ensure that the highest standards are enforced for those living in private rented flats. Many students live in Purpose Built Student Accommodation, an increasing feature of the city landscapes. We believe that new PBSA developments should be integrated into and not separated from existing communities. Mixed developments will be encouraged and new models of providing student housing, such as student co-operatives explored.
- Homelessness is not just a social issue, but a direct consequence of the supply of available affordable homes. In order to reach our goal of eliminating unintentional homelessness in Glasgow, an SNP City Government will seek to strengthen relationships with and between the relevant Council departments and all the registered social landlords across the city in order to agree a common agenda for tackling homelessness. We will work together to define responsibilities and develop a common housing register. We will aim to increase the supply of temporary furnished accommodation and phase out the use of B&Bs for homeless people. We will develop an Empty Homes Strategy to identify unused housing across the city and bring it back into use.
New housing developments also bring with them the opportunity to tackle physical, social and economic challenges in disadvantaged and neglected neighbourhoods and communities. The SNP believes that regeneration efforts must be based on meaningful involvement and collaboration with local people in planning and delivery, as part of a long-term process. Too often in Glasgow regeneration efforts have been done to people, rather than planned with them and, as a result, have not delivered the outcomes they should have.
An SNP City Government will ensure that the Council’s regeneration strategies are rooted in the identity, culture, assets and connections of people and places. They will be aligned with a refreshed and repurposed Community Planning structure involving all partners, particularly those such as community-based housing associations and other local organisations who have a track record in planning and supporting successful regeneration.
Building on the existing Thriving Places initiative, we will identify strategic areas across the city for sustained and coordinated investment in substantial long-term regeneration projects. We will enhance active support for community led regeneration, social enterprises and cultural organisations and in particular invest in direct local job creation in areas that have previously suffered chronic employment shortages.