Council houses get under way

THE start of work on 29 affordable new homes in North Road, Cumbernauld, was marked by North Lanarkshire Council with a sod cutting ceremony.

These are the latest homes to be built as part of the council’s Building for the Future programme that will see 500 new homes for rent completed over a five year period.

Located opposite St. Maurice’s High School, this new development will include 21 terraced and eight semi-detached houses. They are being built for the council by Wates Living Space and are expected to be complete later this year. The council was successful in securing a grant of £0.625 million from the Scottish Government towards the £2.7 million development costs.

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Pupils from St. Maurice’s High School have already been involved in the new housing development and created artwork for three of the hoarding panels around the site. Ross Clark and Gemma Bowie, who are studying for advanced highers in art, and a group of 20 S2 pupils have designed the panels. The themes for the panels are: the school’s Global Citizenship Partnership with two schools in Malawi; Scotland’s history and culture; and the International Children’s Games 2011 which are taking place in Lanarkshire.

Convener of housing and social work, Councillor Barry McCulloch, said: “This is our first new build development in the Cumbernauld area and it will see our 100th new home built, providing much needed housing in the area. Our £75 million Building for the Future programme will deliver a total of 500 homes across North Lanarkshire, underlining our commitment to providing high quality homes for our tenants.

“The homes here in North Road will be modern, energy efficient, accessible and built to the highest standards.”

Wates Living Space and project architects Coultart Earley have been developing a strong relationship with St Maurice’s High School and have provided four pupils with work experience placements, with plans to provide more opportunities in future. Wates also plan to involve the school in their annual community day later in the year.

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The company is also working with the council to support local unemployed people back into work through a training programme, in conjunction with Motherwell College. One of the trainees has gained a job with Wates and a number of others will be employed on the North Road project.

Ronnie Bennett, business unit director for Wates said: “We are delighted to be starting on site with our second new build project for the council. Not only are we creating a further 29 affordable family homes, our involvement to date has brought numerous additional benefits such as the recent Building Futures programme, mentoring and work experience placements for St. Maurice’s students, and a wide range of other community-focused activities with numerous parties all working together and collaborating to get the most from each of the projects for the whole community.”

One of the properties in the North Road development will be purpose-built for a young person who uses a wheelchair and will enable them to have an improved quality of life by having all their living accommodation accessible on one level.

The design specification aims to achieve the highest possible standards that will adapt to the changing needs of tenants. It also incorporates the council’s current high standard of kitchen and bathroom specifications, and aims to minimise ongoing maintenance requirements.