Flurry of interest in council house development

THE APPLICATION by more than 30 firms to build new council houses in Montrose has been welcomed by local elected members.

A total of 32 companies submitted bids to Angus Council to provide the 45 homes at Dungman’s Tack, near Wishart Gardens, which has now been narrowed down to just six.

The £6million project, providing the first council houses in the town for 30 years, will comprise 28 two-storey houses with the provision of 16 more on the site of nearby Wirren House which currently houses sports facilities relocated from the sports centre.

These will consist of 10 four-bedroom houses, 18 three-bedroom houses and one two-bedroom house with two-bedroomed houses built on the extended site.

The development will also feature a boilerhouse which will provide a district heating system to all houses in the programme and the construction will make use of timber from sustainable sources and recycled materials to tie in with the council’s policies on sustainability and CO2 reductions.

The news was welcomed by Councillor Mark Salmond at last week’s neighbourhood services committee, when the tender list was considered.

He said: “It’s a major step forward, bringing much needed housing to Montrose. I never thought we would see council housing being built again and thought we would never be in a position to actually start building what people want.

“This is using a site that for years we used for temporary accommodation for modernisations. It so happens we have almost finished the modernisations and this presents the ideal opportunity to use this site for permanent housing.

“I gratefully acknowledge both the assistance from the Scottish Government, this Council’s commitment to find the necessary finance and look forward to the day we hand over the keys to the first new tenants.”

The last council houses in to be built locally were at Caledonia Place in the early 1980s and the last major council development was at Borrowfield in the 1970s.

Many of these homes are now in private ownership and the authority has just a few housing areas at its disposal, some of which are considered to be undesirable.

The companies which have made it to the shortlist are Bancon Construction Ltd, Hart Builders (Edinburgh) Ltd, John Graham (Dromore) Ltd trading as Graham Construction, Edinburgh, Muirfield (Contracts) Ltd, Dundee, Seddon Construction Ltd, Glasgow and Stewart Milne Group Ltd trading as Stewart Milne Construction, Westhill.

Councillor Paul Valentine expressed disappointment that no local companies were included on the list but said he hopes they will still be involved in the project.

He said: “I welcome the input from the Scottish Government and from Angus Council officials in bringing this to fruition. It’s a little disappointing that there are no local firms represented but we will hopefully get some of the sub-contracting work for local companies.

“Following questions from the SNP group, we have a commitment from the head of housing that he will look at apprentices being taken on for this.”

Work on the first phase of the development is expected to begin at the end of this year.