Housing vote abandoned

A VOTE by Angus councillors on the appointment of a preferred social housing provider for Angus was scrapped after a last-minute request from the Scottish Government.

At a meeting last Thursday, elected members had been asked to approve recommendations by neighbourhood services director Ron Ashton to proceed with a joint Angus Council and Scottish Government tendering process to secure a preferred developer for the county over the next two years to help with the delivery of affordable housing.

Subject to Mr Ashton’s recommendations being followed, neighbourhood services committee members were being asked to agree the appointment of the DOMUS Consortium as preferred social landlord developer for Angus from April this year to March 2014.

DOMUS - which comprises Hillcrest Housing Association, Home Scotland, Perthshire Housing Association and Servite Housing Association - was recommended by Mr Ashton after it topped a government scoring system.

The council was on the verge of moving forward the Scottish Government’s preferred developer process at its previous meeting in November.

The suggested selection of DOMUS, however, led to claims that jobs could be lost in the area and claims from one Angus developer that the proposal was not a good deal for the county.

Opposition members on the committee got the matter deferred to last week’s meeting as councillors were not given a promised progress report on the scheme.

Committee convener Jim Miller told members: “As you know there was some debate at the last committee concerning this matter and I can confirm that the briefing meetings were indeed held.

“As a result, the procurement process in conjunction with the Scottish Government did go ahead.

“However, at a very late stage we have now received a request from the Scottish Government to withdraw consideration of this process to allow further discussion with the government as to how best we may jointly proceed.

“As the process is actually one of their devising, I was happy to accede to that request to ensure no party is in any way disadvantaged. I would confirm that this will not lead to any delay whatsoever in providing much-needed housing for Angus.”