Council faces struggle to provide more affordable homes in Glasgow city centre

·2-min read
Council faces struggle to provide more affordable homes in Glasgow city centre <i>(Image: Moda)</i>
Council faces struggle to provide more affordable homes in Glasgow city centre (Image: Moda)

Delivering affordable homes to grow the city centre population is proving a challenge for the council.

The big build-to-rent developments in Glasgow are to be evaluated as more land and property is needed for housing.

There are several BTR developments currently being built in the city centre and others with planning permission or applications pending.

The model sees flats built by developers, owned by a firm on behalf of investors and are only for rent, and usually, the rent includes utilities and other services like broadband and leisure facilities.

READ MORE: Firm puts £200m flats plan on hold in Glasgow

As part of the council’s policy on repurposing the city centre as it transitions from a heavy reliance on retail and looking to attract more residents, the mix of available housing is being investigated.

It has been noted, in a report by Angus Millar, the council’s convenor for city centre recovery, there is not enough available land to deliver affordable housing.

Many vacant sites or empty buildings have been sold by landowners to build to rent developers.

Sites like the old Police HQ at Pitt Street and many along the riverside at Broomielaw on either side of the Kingston Bridge have been used for Build To Rent developments of hundreds of flats.

It means the council is looking to see more existing property converted from office or retail use into housing but it has been noted that can only provide so many homes.

Councillor Millar said: “Residential outcomes are limited in the city centre with issues around value, the lack of available land, and are generally focused on Build to Rent development.

“Converting formerly commercial property will only deliver relatively small outcomes (average 10 units per block).

“Ryden suggest targeting of areas for residential development and establishing a process of public investment, policy support and market engagement.

“The lack of an affordable housing policy, available land, and land values in the city centre are combining to limit affordable housing outcomes, with future strategy required to focus on existing property and the need to prioritise conversions over new build.”

READ MORE: Glasgow build to rent. Where has the money come from and where will the profits go?

The evaluation is part of the action plan for the city centre to get unused land and buildings back into use.

Mr Millar added "Getting the right mix of different activities, from retail and hospitality to culture and residential, will be central to revitalising our city centre. For Glasgow, that means finding ways to repurpose vacant property, both heritage assets and newer buildings, and working proactively to find solutions and secure positive development for vacant sites.”