Funding worries could see proposed Dyce development miss out on affordable homes

Affordable homes may not be included in a new Dyce housing development due to a lack of Scottish Government funding.

Barratt and David Wilson Homes received the go-ahead to redevelop the former Cordyce School site last August.

The developers planned to construct 91 homes, of which 22 were to be made affordable for social rent.

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The units would range from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom family homes.

However, the affordable houses may not be delivered on the Dyce site at all.

Aberdeen City Council was in line to receive around £16million for the year to help deliver affordable housing.

But, the actual sum awarded was just over £12million, which placed some pressure on existing projects in the local authority’s housing plan.

Due to the drop in funding, Grampian Housing Association has been unable to commit to the project.

How the former Cordyce school site could look
How the former Cordyce school site could look -Credit:Thain Harrington Edward Chartered Architects

Despite this, Barratt is still “keen to deliver” the affordable units at Cordyce, but only if additional cash can be awarded.

If more funding can’t be given, the homes currently earmarked as affordable would be made available for private sale.

The matter was recently discussed by the council’s planning committee.

Planning chief David Dunne told members that no guarantee of additional cash presented developers with a “significant challenge”.

He added: “In order to start the scheme, they need some security if that funding wasn’t secured.”

It was proposed that a 12 month grace period be given to allow any extra money to come.

But if it doesn’t, Barratt will provide the affordable units elsewhere at ongoing housing developments in the city.

However, Mr Dunne made it clear that refusing the off-site housing would put the entire Dyce development at risk.

He explained: “The developers have been clear if that off-site option is not available to them, financially they can’t sign up to the scheme.

“The lack of profit from the site wouldn’t make it viable for their board and they would walk away.”

However, councillor Sandra Macdonald wanted developers to press ahead with the mixed site, and asked for any off-site commitment to be refused.

She stated there is a “real need” for affordable housing in the city and wanted Barratt and David Wilson Homes to stick to the council’s policy.

“We need to demand that we get more funding from the Scottish Government to deliver on projects like these,” she said.

“We have a good track record here in Aberdeen of delivering good quality social housing.

“I want to see that continue and ensure that happens by not setting a precedent.”

The Labour member added: “We need to put our foot down now and say no.

“We need the money to come forward so that this development can go ahead as was agreed in the first place.”

Meanwhile, planning committee convener councillor Ciaran McRae backed the developers’ plea and suggested the off-site plan be granted.

Following a vote, Barratt’s proposal was approved by seven to two.