A COMMITMENT to build almost 700 affordable homes across East Renfrewshire over the next five years has been made by council chiefs.

East Renfrewshire Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) outlines plans to create 693 social housing units for rent in two phases – with 544 delivered in the first three years and the remaining 149 properties to be completed by 2023.

Councillor Danny Devlin, East Renfrewshire’s housing and maintenance convener, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to commit to providing almost 700 additional social housing units through our SHIP.

“We are absolutely committed to providing great quality homes for our residents and this investment will ensure we continue to deliver.

“In addition to our SHIP, we’re also planning improvements in how we let our homes through our proposed Homeseeker service, which will make the process easier and more transparent.

“It is fantastic to see such investment in developing our housing stock, in particular our ambitious house-building programme, and I look forward to seeing how this work progresses over the coming months.”

All local authorities are required to develop SHIPs annually and they are key to the Scottish Government’s plan to create 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.

Through East Renfrewshire Council’s plan, a number of affordable properties for sale are also expected to be built.

And, to meet the changing needs of the area’s residents, around 10 per cent of the new units will be suitable for specific requirements, such as for the elderly or wheelchair users.

In 2016/17, a total of 22 properties were purchased by the council and Barrhead Housing Association directly from the market to increase housing supply.

The SHIP programme continues to include the possibility of market purchase to increase the supply of affordable homes.

Construction on new council housing in East Renfrewshire is due to begin early next year, with homes set to be available by late 2018.

This first phase of construction includes properties at sites in Robertson Street, Fenwick Drive and Blackbyres Court, all in Barrhead.

The full Strategic Housing Investment Plan is available to read on the council website.