The future of our tenements is a critical issue for GWSF and indeed for most local authorities. Many community controlled housing associations grew out of efforts to improve traditional tenements in the 1970s, or the 1980s and beyond in the case of post-war tenements originally built as council housing.
GWSF published a report on the deteriorating condition of many tenement blocks – Our Crumbling Tenements – to start the debate, as we believe strongly that neither the Scottish Government nor local authorities can afford to ignore the issue. The Scottish Government has established a working group looking at identifying some ‘demonstrator’ tenemental improvement projects and how they can be funded, including, where applicable, through the mainstream Affordable Housing Supply Programme – after all, acquisition and rehabilitation of private tenements brings new social/affordable housing supply. GWSF is represented on that Group.
The Scottish Government, in conjunction with Glasgow City Council and Govanhill HA, is putting significant funding into the acquisition and improvement of a number of poor condition tenements in the area. GWSF very much welcomes this initiative, though it only serves to illustrate the scale of the challenge across Glasgow and other parts of the GWSF area, let alone elsewhere in Scotland.
Working with councils to tackle poor private housing
Although discussions are at an early stage, a small number of CCHAs in Glasgow are working with Glasgow City Council to explore different ways in which they can tackle poor private tenements, whether this is support to acquire and then manage the housing as social rented accommodation, improving and factoring fully private blocks, or seeking to lease property from private landlords and renting out as market rented housing.
Not all councils give the same priority to tackling poor private housing, and without support in the form of financial incentives for owners, it can be very difficult for housing associations to improve mixed blocks, let alone fully private blocks.
The ‘before and after’ images below show the impact of major improvement work done by Lochfield Park HA, in conjunction with Glasgow City Council, to the Brucefield Estate in Easterhouse – work which is still ongoing.